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    Man saunters into Newton jewelry store and while clerk is distracted, steals thousands of dollars in costly jewelry, police say

    Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a thief caught on camera Friday stealing jewelry from a store in Newton, police said.

    Around 11:30 a.m. on Friday a man walked into Pageo, a jewelry store at 843 Beacon St., and told an employee that he was looking for a wedding ring, and that he was willing to spend up to $20,000 on it, said Newton police Sergeant Kevin Cupoli.

    “It was a scam,” he said.

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    The suspect asked the employee a question regarding the price on a pair of earrings, and the employee went to the back of the store to get the information. When she returned, the man said he needed to leave adn then departed the store before the employee realized anything was missing, Cupoli said.

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    Employees could not confirm that the man was responsible for the theft until they viewed surveillance camera footage of the incident, Cupoli said.

    Police said the jewelry stolen includes an earring set made of 18 karat gold, which has a pearl and diamond center, and is worth $3,100. The other set was worth $1,950, Cupoli said.

    Amanda Cedrone can be reached at acedrone@globe.com.