Edinburg police accuse Alton man of swapping fake rings for real ones

Edinburg police say he went to JC Penney to look at gold and diamond rings.

But when he handed the rings back to employees in the jewelry department, a loss prevention officer later learned the real rings had been replaced with counterfeit rings, police say.

Authorities say that man is 42-year-old Alton resident Ignacio Angel Vela IV, who is charged with four counts of theft, more than $2,500, but less than $30,000.

Two of the warrants are from Edinburg, for which he received a total of $100,000 in bonds, and two are from Weslaco, for which he hasn’t yet received bond, records show.

Edinburg police identified Vela as the suspect in several thefts after being called to the JC Penney at 410 E. Trenton on Oct. 12.

“ Marco will testify that he discovered another counterfeit women’s ring in a display case and began reviewing security cameras. On September 29 2020, Marco recognized a male and identified him as Ignacio Angel Vela IV,” the probable cause affidavit states.

That’s because the loss prevention officer recognized him from previous thefts from other JC Penney locations.

“ Ignacio was asking to see a ring at the same display case where the counterfeit ring was found. Ignacio would then hand over a counterfeit ring to the employee and walk out of the store with the real ring,” the affidavit states.

The real ring was valued at $3,333.32, according to police.

On Oct. 7, Edinburg police had also responded to the same JC Penney after another loss prevention officer said “a male suspect entered into the store where he would make his way to the Jewelry Department and ask to see women rings that were locked behind the display case.

“ When the male would give the rings back to the employee, he would hand over a counterfeit ring instead of the real gold and diamond rings,” the affidavit states.

Police say Vela would then walk out of the store without paying.

He’s also accused of the same scheme at the JC Penney in Weslaco.