DARIEN, Conn. A Bridgeport man has been arrested and charged with removing a 2.1 carat diamond from a ring belonging to a Bailey Avenue woman and replacing it with a cubic zirconia. Police believe that the suspect, George Lawrence, 40, who works for an exterminating company, stole the gem while he was inspecting the Darien home for pests.
Lawrence, an employee of Guaranty Pest Elimination, was at the home in early May. His work was supposed to be confined to the basement, but a housekeeper told police that she let him upstairs. When the homeowner returned home on May 5, she noticed that the pear-shaped diamond in her engagement ring had been replaced with an ill-fitting marquise cut. The ring had been purchased 16 years earlier for $10,000.
Police developed Lawrence as a suspect when they learned that there had been a similar incident in Stamford. In that case, an employee of Guaranty Pest Elimination was also in the house.
A warrant was issued for Lawrence's arrest and he turned himself into police on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Police said that he did not admit taking the diamond. He was charged with first-degree larceny and released on a $1,000 bond. He will go to court on Nov. 18.