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Police: Loudoun jeweler accused of switching stones

Friday - 7/22/2011, 4:54pm  ET

Max Smith,

WASHINGTON - A worker at a Loudoun County jewelry store is charged with grand larceny after complaints from customers and an undercover investigation.

Fairfax County Police say the investigation into Vima Jewelry on Seneca Road in Great Falls started in April, when a Vienna woman told police a necklace and pendant were missing when she picked up a batch of several items.

Another woman told police in June that after the owner cleaned her diamond engagement ring out of her sight, it looked odd when she got home.

She took it to an appraiser who she says found the diamond was no longer a diamond at all, but rather a stone made of glass.

Police say an undercover officer also had a diamond switched out for a lower-quality stone.

Police say the man charged -- 39-year-old Robert Mikail of Broadlands, Va. -- presented himself as the owner of the store. His lawyer, Thaddeus Furlong, tells WTOP Mikail is just an employee, and they have not yet seen the evidence against him.

Thurlong says Mikail, who was arrested July 8, is out on bond.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)