I-Team hidden cameras stolen while investigating thief - WSMV Channel 4

I-Team hidden cameras stolen while investigating thief

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A convicted thief is accused of stealing the very hidden cameras set up in order to catch him in action.

The Channel 4 I-Team had set up the hidden cameras after finding three women who filed police reports, saying they hired IGB Residential Cleaning Service through an online coupon on the website Living Social.

The women said after the company cleaned their houses, they noticed their fine jewelry was missing.

Gloria West, Danelle Walker and Aly Sands all said their valuable rings, necklaces and rare coins were stolen, but their costume jewelry was untouched.

"I almost feel like, I paid someone to come in here and steal my stuff," Walker said.

"It's a devastating thing. The items that I lost are things that I could never replace," West said.

In Sands' case, she hired IGB, and then realized all her fine jewelry, including a precious diamond necklace, were missing.

Sands was later told by police that the very next day after her diamond necklace went missing, the owner of the cleaning service, Zach Jones, sold a diamond at a nearby pawn shop.

"I felt betrayed, I felt violated," Sands said.

The women were told by investigators it would be almost impossible to prove that their jewelry was stolen, because none of it could be found. It could not be proven that the diamond pawned by Jones was in fact Sands'.

That's why the women contacted the Channel 4 I-Team to expose the problem.

We did some digging and found that Jones is a convicted thief out of Georgia.

So, the I-Team set up an apartment outfitted with five hidden cameras and hired IGB to come clean. We hid costume jewelry in drawers, boxes and in a closet.

We coordinated the cleaning with Ithaca Black-Jones, the owner's wife.

On Dec. 14, Ithaca and Zach Jones showed up to clean the apartment.

Our undercover producer greeted them, and said she would be back in 40 minutes to pay.

When we returned after 42 minutes, the Joneses were gone and so were three of our cameras.

The I-Team called police and filled out a police report.

We then started examining the video from the cameras he didn't discover.

While Ithaca Black-Jones stayed in the front of the apartment, Zach Jones can be seen on video walking into the bedroom, and a few minutes later, goes directly to where we hid a camera in a vent. He inspects the vent closely.

Our video showed Jones then begins to inspect the rings and necklaces we had hidden in drawers and boxes. Jones inspects the jewelry closely.

The victims from the other cleaning thefts told us that none of their costume jewelry was taken, just the valuable items. So we set out the costume jewelry just to see if he would inspect it to determine its value. He did not take any of our costume jewelry.

One of our hidden cameras was stashed inside a closet, right beside a bag of jewelry. On the video, you can see Jones pick up our bag and can hear him unzipping it and going through the jewelry.

Jones also blew his nose in one of the scarves we had left in the closet.

The Channel 4 I-Team also slowed down the undercover video, and in Jones' left hand, you can see he is holding one of our missing cameras.

It's also interesting to note that in the theft conviction from Georgia, Jones was charged with stealing a camcorder.

Weeks after our cameras were stolen, Zach Jones left the Channel 4 I-Team's chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley this message.

"Jeremy, when you see this number pop up on your phone again, answer it. Answer the phone, and then we can talk. I think it's what you want to hear," Jones said in the message.

Friday at 6 p.m., you will see what Jones said when we asked him about all the thefts. He and his wife both deny stealing anything.

We also asked LivingSocial if they do criminal background checks on the companies they offer in coupons.

The back story to our investigation is just as interesting as the story itself. Watch it now to see what happened when we realized our cameras were stolen!

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