Scam artist hits local jewelers

Sonoma Police are looking for a man who has scammed several local jewelers.

Sonoma Police are looking for a man who has scammed several local jewelers.


Sonoma Police are looking for a persistent thief who has victimized local jewelry stores to the tune of nearly $7,000, using a forged credit card and the story that he wants to buy his mother a present for her 60th birthday.

The suspect, using a California ID in the name of “Ryan Mahoney” and a bogus Bank of America Visa card, entered at least four jewelry shops in Sonoma and one in Healdsburg, running the same scam each time.

Typically the card would be declined, but a clerk would then enter the card numbers manually and the transaction would go through.

On Jan. 14, the man tried to purchase a $3,200 gold bracelet at Filigree Estate Jewelers, but when the card was declined he left.

An alert employee called Sonoma police, who then contacted other local jewelry stores and discovered that three of them had been victimized.

On Jan. 13, the same “Ryan Mahoney” used the bogus card to buy a rose gold bracelet worth $1,995 at Halem & Co. in Sonoma. The same day, he used the card to buy a gold bracelet worth $2,262 at Studio Collections, and then on Jan. 14, he bought a $2,610 gold bracelet at Vineyard Jewelers.

The account number on the fraudulent card was drawn on a bank in Toronto.

The suspect was captured on security cameras inside one store and driving away from another. He appeared to be driving a red Honda Fit, or other very similar compact car, and is described as a white male between 20 and 30 years old, about 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds.

He had a shaved head with a receding hairline and wore a dark-colored, long-sleeved, button-down dress shirt, dark-colored dress pants and dark dress shoes. He had an indistinguishable tattoo with a large letter “Z” or “N” on his left forearm.

Anyone seeing the suspect should call the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office property crimes unit at


  • The Village Idiot

    Clearly, what America needs is a Better Class of Criminals.

    If street gangs, syndicates and assorted ne’er-do-wells had even a modicum of education, imagination or business talent they would not be mugging and ripping off their equally poor
    neighbors and random passers-by or mom & pop grocery stores. They’d be mugging
    and ripping off the Filthy Rich.

    They would study The Masters, like famous bank robber John Dillinger, who put it succinctly when asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.” Centuries ago,
    Robin Hood — another Master — pioneered that business model.

    How could a Better Class of Criminals improve life for the 99%? Well, for starters a Better Class of Criminals would steal the Lexis, not the Civic; rob the country club, not the 7-Eleven; hack the fat-cat’s bank account, not the school kid’s lunch money; mug the guy in the tuxedo, not the little old lady with the purse. This simple change in business focus would rebound to the benefit of both criminals and society.

    First of all, it would vastly increase the income of common street hoods and put their risk more in proportion to reward (being in jail for stealing $10,000 feels just like being in jail for stealing $500, so Go Big). Most important, it would improve overall quality of life and safety in society by putting the focus of criminal activity on only 1% of the population instead of the 99% who is getting mugged and ripped off now by everybody from bankers to street thugs. One simple benefit would be that it would make dangerous burglaries & robberies in poor and middle class neighborhoods — 99% of America — virtually non-existent. Now that’s social progress.

    So, Punks, take note: If you really decide that the illegal and hazardous life of crime is for you, then Get Serious about your trade or get a real job. Lesson #1: Remember that while
    everyone hates rip-off artists, they idolize Robin Hood, not to mention Jesse James, John Dillinger, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, all of whom stole almost exclusively from The Rich.

    Consider taking as your example Bernie Madoff, a gentle, well-dressed, classy, well-mannered guy who never stooped to violence or even once stuck a knife or a gun in anybody’s face. He
    NEVER mugged a little old lady, stole anybody’s lunch money, grew weed or broke into anybody’s house. But he made billions — Billions!. Yes, he went to jail for many years, but so will the poor high-school drop out chump caught stealing even a tiny FRACTION of what Bernie scammed. Like Dillinger, Bernie knew where the money was. Finally, remember that nobody — Nobody — feels sorry for the Rich Guy who gets mugged or ripped off. He’s insured.