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Canadian Jeweller Replaced Diamonds With Fakes

September 8, 1994

MONCTON, New Brunswick (AP) _ A jeweller took a peculiar shine to his work, and could end up serving time in jail as a result.

David Victor LeBlanc, 30, who used to run a jewelry store in Moncton, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a fifth theft charge for taking diamonds from customers’ rings and replacing them with cubic zirconia.

Prosecutors said the stolen diamonds carried appraised values ranging from about $6,700 to $19,000 each. The total claims equal about $44,000.

LeBlanc has offered to pay restitution, saying he can use his old ties in the business to obtain replacement gems wholesale. His lawyer said LeBlanc, a first offender, also would willingly serve a prison sentence, as long as it was only on weekends so he would not miss work.

His new vocation? Excavation.

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