A judge sentenced a San Luis Obispo jewelry salesman Tuesday to 10 days in County Jail for a misdemeanor conviction of delaying an officer during the course of his investigation into stolen rings.
Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy sentenced William “Mac” McBurney, 57, based on a jury’s Feb. 3 guilty verdict following a trial.
The jury found McBurney not guilty of more serious charges: two felony counts of receiving stolen rings estimated to be worth thousands of dollars.
During the trial, Duffy dismissed two misdemeanor counts of operating without a second-hand dealer’s business license because McBurney didn’t own the business, so that wasn’t his responsibility.
His son, Travis McBurney, is the owner of the store, All That Glitters, in San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Plaza. And he now has a second-hand dealer’s license for his store.
William McBurney’s lawyer, Ilan Funke-Bilu, argued Tuesday for a new trial on the count of delaying the investigation. He argued that his client made no attempt to hide the rings that he purchased second hand in 2010 and made no money from them.
“I don’t think the (San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office) is seeing the big picture here,” Funke-Bilu said. “ Where is the evidence that my client made any money (from the second-hand transaction)?”
Funke-Bilu said the jewelry was kept at the store about three weeks after police first spoke to McBurney on the phone about whether he might have purchased stolen property.
A jury found reasonable doubt that McBurney knew the items were stolen.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray alleged during the trial that McBurney knew he was buying stolen property when he purchased a stolen diamond ring worth about $20,000 for $204 and a stolen sapphire worth $3,500 for $132.
On Tuesday, Gray said in court that McBurney delayed the investigation by telling police that he “absolutely denied” buying a diamond ring from Eugene Kriewitz.
“Mr. Funke-Bilu has no idea what the (district attorney) thinks, nor will he ever,” Gray said.
In court Tuesday, McBurney said that when he was first contacted, the investigating officer in the case mispronounced the thief’s name (Kriewitz), indicating he had no reason to connect that purchase to the crime that police were investigating.
Duffy’s sentence includes two years of informal probation and a $1,000 fine.
The judge also admonished McBurney to follow the law regarding second-hand purchases of jewelry, which include notifying police of purchases, getting fingerprints from sellers and waiting 30 days to resell items.
McBurney must surrender at 8 a.m. on March 27 to serve his 10-day sentence in County Jail.