Thieves switch fake gold for real gold at Denver jewelry store

Store loses $11,000 in scam

Thieves pretending to sell gold are caught on camera as they quietly switch out a bag of real gold worth thousands of dollars for a bag of fake gold worth nothing.

When the two men walked into Myrna Munoz's family jewelry store on Saturday, she had no idea she was about to be scammed.

"They weren't even nervous. It was like they do this all the time," Munoz said. "They said they had a family emergency, and they needed money urgently. So, they had all given their gold."

The men brought 445 grams of gold into the Joyeria El Ruby at 38th and Sheridan in Denver. It was worth more than $11,000.

But a surveillance video showed one man asking questions to distract Munoz while the other man slipped the bag full of already-tested gold off the counter and replaced it with a look-alike bag packed with fake gold jewelry.

Munoz said it was a perfect switcheroo because the jewelry even weighed the same and looked the same.

"There was a men's bracelet, just like this, and all the chains looked just like these," Munoz said.

The video showed one customer stuffing his pocket with the cash, and they both walked away.

Munoz said moments later, she and her mother realized something wasn't right.

"My mom was like, 'I don't recognize this small chain here. Did we test it?'" Munoz recalled.

When they started to test the new jewelry, they discovered every piece was fake.

"This is a small family-owned business, hard-earned money that we have saved up," said Munoz. "It makes me feel horrible."

Denver police said they're investigating and would like anyone with information to call police.

Munoz said police took the surveillance video and fingerprints, but, so far, have reported no leads.

Munoz said she is certain these guys have scammed other jewelry stores before because the real gold jewelry had been tested several times. The thieves also had a smooth story for that -- telling Munoz that they didn't get the right price at other places.

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