The co-owner and a manager of a Bettendorf jewelry store have been given a deferred sentence and one year of unsupervised probation for buying stolen jewelry and not returning it to its owner when she went to the store.

Jeffrey Taylor Hughes, 45, of Long Grove, and Shane Michael Tague, 41, of Davenport entered Alford pleas in January to conspiracy to commit a serious misdemeanor.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that prosecutors likely would win a conviction at trial.

In exchange for their plea, prosecutors dismissed the more serious charge of first-degree theft.

The two men originally were scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, but their sentencing hearing was moved up to March 3, according to court documents.

If they fulfill the terms of their probation, the conviction will not be entered on their records. They also were ordered to pay a $625 fine plus court costs.

According to arrest affidavits filed by Bettendorf police:

Hughes is the co-owner and Tague is the store manager of Premier Jewelry & Loan, 875 Middle Road.

In February 2016, the two purchased stolen jewelry, valued at approximately $16,000, from Trevor Scott Moss, 22, who had brought it to the store to pawn. They claimed all the jewelry, except a large carat diamond, had been destroyed as scrap gold.

Despite numerous requests from the victim and police, Tague and Hughes refused to say where the diamond had gone. They eventually told police that it had been recut and sold to a diamond wholesaler, but they refused to say which one and who bought it.

Police obtained a search warrant for Premier and Revell Jewelers, which also is co-owned by Hughes, to search for the stolen jewelry and records relating the jewelry.

Records show the diamond was sent by Hughes from Revell Jewelers to Hamburg, N.Y., to be recut. It was then shipped back to Hughes.

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The recut diamond was then shipped by Hughes to a New York City company for grading. The diamond was still at the company at the time police executed the search warrant.

Hughes admitted that the recut diamond still belonged to Revell Jewelers and himself even though it was in New York for grading. Hughes turned the diamond over to police when it arrived back at Revell Jewelers.

Tague and Hughes maintained that the rest of the stolen jewelry already had been scrapped.

Records show that the recut diamond was received back at Revell Jewelers on Feb. 13, 2016, and was shipped for grading three days later.

Police learned the recut diamond had been at Revell Jewelers when the victim went to Premier to try to recover her stolen jewelry and was told that the diamond was no longer in their possession, according to the affidavits.

Moss pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft and was given a suspended prison sentence and placed on three years of probation, according to court documents. 

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