Magazine salesman accused of stealing rings

Published: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 2:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.

A magazine salesman was arrested Sunday and accused of stealing the wedding rings from an 81-year-old Gainesville woman who had let him into her house to use the restroom, police said.

The woman declined to buy any magazines from the salesman, who showed up at her door on Northwest Ninth Court at about 5:15 p.m., but wrote him a $25 check as a donation, Gainesville Police Lt. Jeff Blundell said.

Blundell said the salesman preyed off her kindness, and she let him in to use the bathroom, where she kept her wedding rings.

According to an arrest report, the woman noticed the rings were missing after he left and called police.

About 45 minutes later, Officer Jaron Griffin saw a man matching the suspect's description on the 4000 block of Northwest Eighth Avenue.

The man told Griffin he was a magazine salesman, and the officer said he had “just left an elderly lady who said that a salesman stole her wedding rings.”

“The Defendant said that he was sorry then pulled two rings from his front rights pants pocket and gave them to me,” Griffin wrote in his report.

The suspect, Jack Ryan Patti, 20, of Belton, Mo., who said he was an employee with Midwest Circulation LLC, was charged with grand theft, a third-degree felony, as the wedding rings were valued at about $700.

Patti was being held at the Alachua County jail in lieu of $5,000 bond.

Blundell said though this case ended with the victim getting her property back, it offered a lesson for people to be careful about allowing strangers into their homes.

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