By Brecken Branstrator
Greensboro, N.C.--Antonio Pietrantozzi, the owner of Custom Jewelers Gallery in Greensboro, is facing felony charges after he allegedly replaced real diamonds and gemstones with simulants in the ring of one elderly customer who also was a former employee of the store.

According to the Greensboro Police Department, Pietrantozzi switched out a 3-carat diamond as well as two emeralds weighing 0.44 carats each from the ring (valued at $30,000 to $50,000) and replaced them with simulants. 

He now faces one count of embezzlement of property received by virtue of office or employment and one count of exploitation of an older or disabled adult.

The jeweler was not able to be reached for further comment by press time.

Though police would not give the name of the victim, local news reports identified her as Peggie Rorie, a former employee of Custom Jewelers Gallery who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 80.

Rorie reportedly had jewelry at the store for consignment purposes, but her daughter asked for it back after her mother died, leading up to her discovery that the stones had been swapped with simulants and calling the police to report the fraud.

No other victims have yet been identified, and the investigation is ongoing, Greensboro police said. 

Though Pietrantozzi was arrested Tuesday, he has since been released and currently is scheduled to appear in court on April 7. 

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