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Former Concord jeweler convicted of receiving stolen goods

A former Concord jewelry store owner has been found guilty by a jury of purchasing nearly two dozen pieces of stolen merchandise in 2011, a verdict that could land him in prison for up to 15 years.

Hung Hoang, 43, formerly of Manchester, was convicted Friday of purchasing the items while knowing they had been stolen in a string of local burglaries by an Epsom man. The goods were valued at more than $1,500.

The jury acquitted Hoang of two lesser charges: a misdemeanor for purchasing a Plymouth State class ring and a Class B felony for falsifying physical evidence. Prosecutors had accused Hoang of having polished off the initials on the class ring after its owner identified it in a display case at his now-defunct store in the Steeplegate Mall.

Hoang was also charged with violating the city’s pawnbroker ordinance, which requires in part that stores dealing in secondhand goods provide law enforcement with detailed records of their inventory. Those violations were not part of this trial, said assistant county attorney George Waldron, who prosecuted the case.

Waldron said he doesn’t expect Hoang, who is Vietnamese and has been in the United States for 20 years, will receive the maximum 15-year prison sentence for the felony, but he hopes whatever sentence he does receive sends a clear message to local pawnbrokers on the consequences of dealing in stolen goods.

The trial last week, which lasted three days and included seven hours of jury deliberation, centered largely on the class ring. Waldron said the owner of the ring saw the item in Hoang’s store, recognized it because it was engraved with her initials and called the police. When officers arrived, however, the engraving was gone.

The Concord police said at the time they had been eyeing Hoang’s operation for similar criminal behavior, and a week later they executed a search warrant of his shop, collecting about 170 items, including jewelry and coins.

Hoang’s attorney asked a judge this summer to toss out comments his client made to the police during the search, arguing that, given Hoang’s very limited English and the absence of a translator, he hadn’t understood that he had the right to remain silent. That motion was denied after a Concord police detective testified that he had personally read, paraphrased and re-paraphrased the Miranda rights to Hoang, and that Hoang had acknowledged to him that he understood their meaning.

Hoang is scheduled to be sentence in November.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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