Accused jewel thief bound over to grand jury

Becky Campbell • Feb 19, 2014 at 9:41 AM

The North Carolina woman accused of snatching three high-end diamond rings from a local jeweler was bound over to a grand jury for theft over $60,000 after a court hearing Tuesday.

Kingsley Michelle Perkins, 28, of Conover, N.C., was arrested nearly a week after the Jan. 29 heist at Dempsey’s Jewelry, 3018 Peoples St. Johnson City police investigators tracked her down in North Carolina after getting a tip and developing her as a suspect.

Heidi Elliott testified at Perkins’ preliminary hearing that she was the sales associate who showed Perkins the rings.

“She came in and another associate greeted her. She asked to see some high-end diamond rings,” Elliot said.

Elliot, a certified gemologist, testified that she assisted Perkins for about 20 minutes and showed her three rings — one valued at $45,000, another valued at $25,000 and one valued at $23,800 — before the woman jumped up and ran out the door.

“She spoke to me about her fiancé, her mother, basic small talk,” while looking at rings, Elliot said. Then, without warning, the woman ran out the door.

Elliot said she yelled for co-workers to alert them about the incident and someone called 911. She also said the woman left behind a white ball cap with the word Wild written across the front in pink letters.

According to a court document, Perkins was also talking on her phone during part of the interaction with Elliott. Perkins was caught on surveillance video entering the store, sitting down while looking at the rings and running out.

She jumped into a white Toyota Camry, which was driven by a man. So far, no one else has been arrested in the case, but during an arraignment hearing last week, Perkins said her brother and another man were involved.

Perkins remained jailed on a $100,000 bond. Her first appearance in Criminal Court is May 16. During Tuesday’s hearing, Perkins was represented by Assistant Public Defender Wesley Taylor. Assistant District Attorney General Michael Rasnick handled the prosecution.

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