(As originally published with bells and whistles, Mon, May 9th 2022, 5:00 AM EDT)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (CBS12) — The owner of a jewelry store had to wait a long time for justice. He called police to report a customer he didn’t want to return. That was back in October, 2019.
He told them the day before, she walked into his business “and spent around an hour shopping for a piece of jewelry. She then selected a 14k gold diamond women’s tennis bracelet and attempted to purchase it with her credit card. The credit card would not work, and the woman wrote a check for $4,808.58.”
The owner apparently took due diligence when he performed that transaction.
According to Palm Beach Gardens police, he “collected her identification card and wrote the driver’s license number on the check and made a copy of the identification card. The name on the check matched the name on the identification card, Melissa Hopwood. [The owner] advised the photograph on the identification card looked like the woman who entered the store. The female collected the bracelet and left the store.”
But she’d be back.
“The following day, the female returned at 3:15pm and attempted to purchase a Rolex watch for $7,500.00,” according to the arrest report. “The owner became suspicious and contacted the bank, who told him there were insufficient funds in the account for the watch. He then inquired about the check from the previous day, and they advised him they were insufficient funds for either. When the owner tried to speak with the female, she said she needed to get something and left.”
The arrest report said a police officer looked up the ID card number on a computer and it came back to Melissa Hopwood. “I looked at a still image on the store surveillance footage and it appeared to be Melissa. I utilized various investigative methods and was unable to find a local address for Melissa but her most recent address shows Miami.”
Then, the officer checked Melissa Hopwood’s name in another computer. Turned out, “She did pawn a woman’s bracelet (unrelated to this specific case) on Sept. 5, 2019 [in Hollywood]. Melissa provided [a Miami address] at that time. On the [Palm Beach Gardens jeweler]’s invoices for the two days, the phone numbers and address did not match, and the Jupiter addresses provided did not actually exist. I attempted to call the phone numbers for Melissa, and they are not active.”
In the end, the officer requested a warrant for Melissa Hopwood’s arrest and the now-43-year-old was charged with grand theft and obtaining goods valued over $150 using a check with insufficient funds.
Police eventually caught up with her and Hopewell was finally booked more than two-and-a-half years later on April 23 of this year. Bail was set at $9,000, and she has not been released.