• Police: Thief told pawn shop he was born again, ridding self of material possessions


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators said a thief had an unusual excuse when he tried to pawn $20,000 in stolen jewelry at an Orange County pawn shop.

    The victim, Miguel Vallenavedo said someone smashed his back window and stole more than 200 pieces of jewelry, much of it belonging to his wife.

    Authorities said Vallenavedo's neighbor, 59-year-old Michael Kirkland, stole the jewelry and tried to pawn it at Beverly Hills Jewelry inside the Florida Mall.

    Investigators said Kirkland told the clerk he had found religion and was trying to get rid of material things, but those material things turned out to belong to his neighbors.

    "Rosa, being from Spain, she had a lot of items from her mother," Vallenavedo said of the stolen items.

    "It's bad, it's really bad," Kirkland's mother told Channel 9. "I don't know what got into my son."

    Kirkland's mother said she was surprised by the allegations, simply due to the fact that he's almost 60.

    The Vallenavedos said they never expected someone who lived so close would break in and steal from them.

    Kirkland is being held in the Orange County Jail. He denied Channel 9's request for an interview.

    The victims said some of the jewelry is still unaccounted for.

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