52ºF

Engagement ring stolen on Valentine's Day found on another woman's finger, deputies say

Suspect claimed he purchased stolen ring

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – An engagement ring that was stolen on Valentine's Day before a man could propose to his girlfriend was found Thursday on another woman's finger, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Justin Robinson had the white gold diamond ring in his vehicle in his driveway and someone went into the GMC pickup truck and stole it along with other items.

"I bought the ring, we looked a lot and I found the one I liked and I bought it, and was getting ready to ask the question," Robinson said.

Robinson said the door on his truck was unlocked only because he lives in a rural area with very little crime, but now he plans on locking his doors.

Gift cards, a driver's license and a tablet were stolen from Robinson's girlfriend Amanda Bacon's vehicle as well, the report said.

"We had about 300 dollars worth of gift cards that were stolen, we tried to match up numbers and contact the stores," Robinson said.

Bacon said she found a receipt for one of the gift cards so she called the corporate number listed and an employee there was able to tell her that it was used at a Kohl's in Clermont.

That lead and tips from the community helped deputies identify a suspect.

"I was pretty impressed, actually, how everybody came together and was looking for the same thing," Bacon said. 

Deputies said they received information that Austin Taylor Oaks might be connected to a string of vehicle burglaries in the areas and when they went to speak with him, he was with a woman who was wearing the stolen engagement ring on her left ring finger.

The woman told deputies that Oaks gave her the ring on Valentine's Day, according to the report.

Oaks claimed that he bought the ring from a friend, but deputies said records showed the friend he claimed to have bought it from was in jail at the time.

Deputies said Oaks apologized and wanted to express his remorse to the victim.

When authorities went to arrest Oaks, they said he became combative and yelled at deputies to shoot him because he wasn't getting in the patrol vehicle. Force was used to subdue and handcuff Oaks, according to the report.

Deputies said they plan to return the ring to the victims.

Robinson said he knows exactly what he'll do when he gets it back.

"Well, go ahead and ask the question, obviously. Not to rush it or anything, get it done sooner or later now, go ahead and get it on her finger --- if she says yes, of course," Robsin said. 


About the Author: