Woman, 66, accused of stealing $300K in decade-long series of jewelry store thefts


A 66-year-old San Diego woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing more than $300,000 worth of jewelry over the past 12 years from about a dozen stores in at least three states.

Huong Thi Tran was taken into custody at a home on 51st Street near Lemon Avenue in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood, Escondido police said in a statement.

Jail records showed Tran was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of felony burglary and grand theft. She was being held on $25,000 bail, but jail records also indicated there was a hold on any potential release for out-of-county warrants.


It was not immediately clear if Tran had a lawyer.

According to police, multiple Southern California law enforcement agencies were investigating the thefts at high-end jewelry stores and identified Tran as the suspect, Escondido police said.

Tran allegedly “used a sleight of hand distraction technique” to make off with expensive pieces of jewelry, according to police.

Investigators believe that between 2008 and 2019, Tran stole items from at least a dozen jewelry stores in Southern California, Texas and Virginia. The total of her heists is estimated to be more than $300,000, according to police.

Detectives from the Long Beach Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department helped Escondido police investigate the case, the local agency said in the statement. San Diego police helped Escondido detectives with Tran’s arrest Thursday.

Escondido detectives asked anyone with additional information possibly related to the case to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (760) 743-TIPS (8477).

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.