Discarded hat helps solve crime

Fulton County sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday that through DNA testing they have identified the man

Fulton County sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday that through DNA testing they have identified the man who stole a $19,000 ring from a Johnstown jewelry store in June — but they also learned he died five weeks ago.

According to deputies, Ned Metcalf, 51, of Broadalbin, was identified as the jewelry store suspect from DNA evidence from a hat that he threw away June 24 while fleeing J Fine Jewelry.

Store owner Patti Jagielski said she recognized him as the man who robbed the store after police showed her a mug shot.

The DNA was traced to a database entry for Metcalf in Florida, where he previously had been convicted of a crime. Metcalf died July 28 at Saratoga Hospital.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said the cause of death was not available immediately and the investigation will continue as deputies attempt to find the ring, which remains unaccounted for.

“I think he’s the one that did it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily closed,” Lorey said of the investigation. “We’re continuing to follow some leads on what he may have done with the property.”

Metcalf entered the jewelry store at 189 Fifth Ave. around 11:30 a.m. June 24 and asked to see a ring, according to deputies. Jagielski said she handed him the ring and he fled the store with it in his hand.

“He walked in and said that he had to make something up to his wife and that he thought a diamond would be a nice thing to do,” Jagielski said at the time. “When I went out the door, my first intention was to get a license plate number, and he fled across the street.”

She said she chased him about a quarter-mile until he entered a wooded area near Boulevard Elementary School. Officials at the school were notified of the situation, deputies said then.

“The closure is an amazing relief,” Jagielski said Tuesday.

Metcalf had most recently been living in a wooded area off County Highway 110 in Broadalbin prior to his death, according to deputies.

Categories: Schenectady County

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