PHOENIX — Tempe police detectives are not laughing at what a suspected jewel thief described as an April Fools’ Day joke.
Police alleged 27-year-old Phuoc Tran had scoped out a $25,000 diamond at a jewelry store inside Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe on Monday. The following day, April 1, Tran allegedly walked into the same jewelry store and asked to see the gem.
“He turned around quickly and pretended he was going to run out of the store,” said Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Pooley. “It was then he swapped the real gem for a fake, a cubic zirconia. He told the clerk, ‘April Fools! I was just kidding. I didn’t want you to think I was going to run.'”
The employee noticed the fake jewel and notified police. The following day, Tran reportedly returned to the store to return the stolen diamond and told workers it was all a prank.
Detectives arrested Tran for felony theft. During an interview, Tran admitted that he had planned to use the diamond to propose to his girlfriend the following week.