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Dawson County father-son jeweler duo arrested for stealing customers' jewelry
Kunkel Jewelers 2021-09-17
Frank Robert Kunkel, Jr., left, and Frank Robert Kunkel, III of the now-closed Kunkel & Son Jewelers were each charged with theft by conversion on Aug. 31, 2021.

Frank Robert Kunkel, Jr. and Frank Robert Kunkel, III of the now-closed Kunkel & Son Jewelers were each charged with theft by conversion on Aug. 31, 2021.  

Kunkel, III, 38, was charged with one count of theft by conversion, while his father, Kunkel, Jr.,65, was charged with the offense four times.  

The business had operated for more than two decades, and the men were known for their friendliness, high-quality craftsmanship and reasonable prices, according to reviews on their business’ Facebook page. By the end of 2020, however, their business had closed.

Arrest reports and warrants for four separate victims entail that Kunkel, Jr. and Kunkel, III allegedly stole jewelry when customers brought pieces to their store at the Dawson 400 shopping center.  

Instead of repairing, altering and/or recreating items for the victims, the two are alleged to have taken the jewelry and converted it to their own property. 

One victim reported multiple jewelry pieces stolen on Feb. 12, 2020, after the Kunkels allegedly never returned the pieces. Kunkel, Jr. and III’s warrants both attribute that they acquired nine stone-encrusted watches collectively valued at less than $1,000.  

Kunkel, Jr.’s warrant for that victim also alleges that he stole more jewelry over a period of six months to four years. 

Those other pieces include a gold ring with dark sapphire and diamond stones; a sterling silver heart pendant with ruby stones; two pendants with green amethyst stones; two other amethyst stones; a silver ring with blue stones; a silver ring with amethyst stones and a watermelon quartz stone. These accessories were worth a collective $2,775.  

The second victim reported the theft on March 10, 2020. The related warrant alleges that in 2018, Kunkel, Jr. acquired and did not return two aquamarine stones and a 14 carat white-gold ring with diamonds, valued at $1,146.99. 

The third victim reported a stolen ring with a gold band on March 17, 2020, worth $1,000.  

Kunkel, Jr. was allegedly given the ring in 2018 under an agreement to repair it, according to the associated warrant.  

The fourth victim had a warrant, but not a police report attributed to their property.  

In 2016, Kunkel, Jr. is alleged to have taken the person’s 14-karat gold ring, worth $250, with the understanding that he would then sell it for that price.The  fourth victim represents the earliest known of the victims according to these particular warrants.  

However, a further review of Kunkel, Jr.’s criminal records reveal he was charged with five counts of unlawful alteration of precious metals and gems in 2011. He was accused of, within a week of acquiring the jewelry, unlawfully cutting up a victim’s pearl brooch pin, multi-colored earrings, pendant and second pair of earrings and a diamond ring. 

Kunkel, Jr. pleaded guilty in 2013 and was sentenced to probation of 12 months, which was suspended.  

After the Aug. 31, 2021 bookings, Kunkel, Jr.’s bail was $5,700, while Kunkel, III’s bail was $1,300. 

Both men bonded out of jail on Sept. 1, the day after their arrests, according to jail records. 

The Kunkels could not be reached for comment. DCN will continue reporting on this story as more information becomes available.

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