Chandler police are seeking the public's help in locating six men officers say committed jewelry fraud over a two-year period throughout the southwestern United States, scamming a number of people in Chandler and the Valley.
Although two men have been charged in a scam that netted about $500,000 in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, all six men remain on the loose. Police also are asking scrap gold buyers or licensed dealers to be aware of purchasing fake white gold jewelry marked as 14 karat, 18 karat or .750 that really are made of stainless steel.
Police have identified Edward Brueggemeyer, 46, as the ring leader of the group which polishes and stamps the stainless steel jewelry. When the jewelry is weighed, acid tested and magnetically tested, it displays similar consistencies as white gold.
Brueggemeyer was a pawn shop owner in Texas, where it is believed he could be now. Other outstanding suspects in the scam that began in October 2009 and lasted until February 2011, are: Daniel Marquez, 20; Robert Polmanteer, 40; Levi Sifuentes, 21; James Whalen, 44; and Steven White, 49.
Police say the men were able to defraud buyers such as other pawn shop owners by selling them the jewelry. The pawn shop owners then were required to hold the jewelry pieces for 90 days before they could have them refined, at which time the store owners discovered the jewelry was stainless steel.
If anyone has any information about any of these men facing 38 counts of forgery and fraudulent schemes, or if they recently purchased white gold jewelry they believe to be fake, call Chandler police at (480) 782-4130.