Man Charged With Palm Desert Jewelry Store Theft

Man Charged With Palm Desert Jewelry Store Theft

News Staff

A man already facing charges for allegedly shoplifting from a Cathedral City Target store, then leading police on a pursuit, was charged Tuesday with snatching nearly $30,000 worth of jewelry from a Palm Desert store.

Darquise Smith, 32, of San Bernardino, is accused of stealing two diamond rings from a JCPenney store at the Westfield Palm Desert mall on Aug. 9, just hours before he was arrested for allegedly leading police on a chase from Cathedral City into Palm Springs.

After arriving at the store, Smith allegedly inquired about several pieces of jewelry, then reached into the display case and grabbed the rings when an employee wasn’t looking, according to an arrest warrant declaration, which states that the theft was captured on store surveillance footage.

Later that afternoon, Smith allegedly stole electronics from the Target at 67750 E. Palm Canyon Drive, then assaulted a store security guard who tried to detain him, according to Cathedral City police Sgt. Nate Hanley.

As Cathedral City officers arrived at the scene, Smith was speeding away from the scene, the sergeant said. Officers gave chase, but terminated the pursuit for safety reasons as Smith entered Palm Springs, Hanley said.

Cathedral City police relayed the suspect information to Palm Springs police, who later found Smith and his car in the 2400 block of East Palm Canyon Drive.

A cavity search of Smith at the county jail also revealed stolen property related to a separate Palm Desert theft, which is being investigated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hanley said. Police did not disclose whether that stolen property was the jewelry he’s accused of taking from the JCPenney.

Smith was charged Tuesday with felony grand theft for the JCPenney theft and charged in August with robbery, battery and evading arrest for the Target theft and subsequent pursuit.

He remains held in lieu of $210,000 bail. An arraignment date has not yet been set for his latest charges.