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December 10, 2009

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Man detained in theft of valuable stone

A MAN was detained for allegedly stealing a valuable stone from an antique store in October, Huangpu District police said yesterday.

Wang Ming, 45, confessed on Tuesday and told officers he had spent the past month "in a tinge of regret."

"There has been no apparent reason why he did so except that he is a stone lover," said Yu Jianmin, an officer.

District police have recovered the stone, a red jasper, whose value may vary greatly in different markets.

On October 25, an owner in Huangpu's Zhongfu Antique City, one of the city's largest jade markets, called the police, saying a red jasper was missing.

The store owner, who asked not to be named, said she had bought the stone for 300,000 yuan (US$44,000) from southeastern China's Fujian Province.

The shoplifter left little trace, said Officer Yu.

Since there are not many jasper dealers in the city, officers began to visit about 10 jewelry markets.

One dealer in Huangpu told the police a man had come by intending to sell a similar stone.

Officers then found surveillance tapes that showed Wang visiting a number of those markets that day.

During a police inquiry, Wang said that he sold the stone to a store owner in another antique market for 4,000 yuan within half an hour of stealing the stone.

Police persuaded the second store owner to relinquish the stone. A final evaluation of the jasper by two experts will be released in a week, police said.

Wang, who works in a property management company, is divorced and lives alone, police said.


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