Handcuffs

A Metairie man accused of keeping a customer's $50,000 watch has been jailed on a theft charge, and authorities said they suspect there are more victims who've lost high-priced jewelry to his store.?

Thomas Birdsall, 64, was running Birdsall Jewelry and Gifts, 188 W. 11th St., Cut Off, in the summer of 2021 when a customer brought a watch in for repair, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office.

Birdsall was supposed to either repair the watch himself or send it off for work. But when Hurricane Ida made landfall on Aug. 29, 2021, he removed all merchandise from his store, the Sheriff's Office said.

At some point, the customer reached back out to ask for the watch. But Birdsall told the customer he couldn't remember whether he sent it off for repairs, authorities said. Birdsall then cut off all contact with the customer.?

Sheriff's Office detectives opened an investigation and obtained a felony theft warrant for Birdsall's arrest. He was taken into custody May 31 in Metairie and transferred to the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux.

Birdsall was released from jail Saturday on his own recognizance under the condition of electronic monitoring, the Sheriff's Office said.?

Sheriff's Office detectives said they believe there may be other victims who brought jewelry to Birdsall's shop for repairs but never got the items back.

Authorities are asking those victims to gather any documents related to the jewelry and the transaction and contact Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office investigators at (985) 532-4320. Residents can also send the information to info@lpso.net.

Email Michelle Hunter at mhunter@theadvocate.com.