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Police: Thief Swallowed $3,200 Diamond Ring

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MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – Police in Manchester, N.H. are keeping a close eye on a suspect accused of stealing a $3,200 diamond ring, hoping to recover the evidence.

Fifty-two-year-old Ron Perley is hospitalized and under police guard until he gives up the ring.

But officials don’t know exactly when that time will come. According to police, Perley swallowed the ring.

On Thursday evening, Perley walked into Bellman’s Jewelers and asked to look at engagement rings.

Staffer Sandy Gamache brought out a tray of rings that Perley looked at, before he allegedly grabbed one and ran for the door.

Much to his surprise, the door was locked because of the store’s security system. The system requires that people are buzzed in and buzzed out.

“So I ran over to him and he put his hand up to his mouth,” said Gamache. “I told him don’t swallow the ring.”

David Bellman, who owns the store, said his son told Perley, “you’re staying here, sit down and shut up.”

When police arrived, Perley denied taking anything, and the missing ring was not immediately found in his possession.

But officers say the surveillance video told a different story.

They obtained a search warrant, and Perley was brought to the Elliot Hospital for x-rays.

Those x-rays, according to police, confirmed he had swallowed a ring matching the description of the stolen ring.

Perley was arrested and charged with felony Theft and Falsifying Physical Evidence.

He’s being held in jail following his arraignment on Monday.

When asked what was next, Manchester Police spokesperson Lt. Maureen Tessier said she wasn’t quite sure, but suggested that it will likely be a waiting game.

“At some point that piece of evidence will have to vacate his body; at which point, we’ll seize it,” she said.

While some people have suggested that no one would want to buy the ring, Bellman thinks it’ll be the other way around.

“My staff says no one will want to buy that ring, “ says Bellman.” But I think it’ll go for more, because it’s got a history.”

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.

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