A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge dropped a set of misdemeanor charges against a local jewelry store employee accused of buying and attempting to sell two stolen pieces of jewelry without a proper license.
Prosecutors allege that William McBurney, 57, a sales associate at the SLO-based All That Glitters, knowingly accepted a diamond ring reportedly worth more than $30,000 for $204 and a sapphire worth approximately $3,000 for $132, from individuals who are currently serving sentences for the thefts.
Prosecutors initially accused McBurney of accepting the stolen jewelry without a necessary second-hand dealer’s license. But his defense attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, asked Judge Michael Duffy on Jan. 30 to dismiss two misdemeanor charges of operating a second-hand business without a license, given that it wasn’t McBurney’s duty as a sales employee to obtain the second-hand dealer’s license.
McBurney’s son, 32-year-old Travis McBurney, has been president of the business’ corporation since 2002, according to business records. Since the elder McBurney’s arrest in 2010, All That Glitters has obtained the license, and a one-year statute of limitations for operating a business without one has passed.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray declined to comment on the dismissal, citing the ongoing nature of the trial, but did say the District Attorney’s Office remains confident in its case.
McBurney continues to face the two felony charges of receiving stolen property, and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.
“I’m gratified that the court dismissed the two charges, but I’m only going to be satisfied with acquittal,” Funke-Bilu told New Times. “It’s kind of like eating a meal. We’ve had the appetizer, but I want a complete meal with dessert—and that’s an acquittal.”
Both sides were expected to present their closing arguments on Jan. 31.