DARTMOUTH — A New Bedford man who stole expensive jewelry twice from two different stores in the Dartmouth Mall — while on probation for stealing jewelry — has been sentenced to serve up to five years in state prison.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said 29-year-old Jesus Torres pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny over $1,200 for the thefts, which took place in December 2019 and February 2020.

Torres first stole a necklace valued at more than $3,000 from the mall's Jewelry Express after asking to see it on Dec. 17, 2019.

When the clerk put the necklace on the counter, he grabbed it and ran for the exit, the D.A.'s office stated.

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A warrant for his arrest was issued after the clerk identified Torres from a photo array.

While police were still searching for him, Torres again went into the Dartmouth Mall and entered Kay Jewelers on February 23, 2020.

He asked to see a large gold bracelet worth just under $8,000.

After the clerk let him try it on, he ran from the store, according to the D.A.'s office.

The second theft was caught on surveillance video footage.

Torres was arrested in early March 2020 after a second arrest warrant was issued.

At the time, he was on probation following a three year prison term for similar jewelry thefts.

The D.A.'s office noted that Torres was initially held in jail but was one of the first defendants in Bristol County to be released early because of COVID.

Upon his release, Torres disappeared for over a year, missing several court dates.

He also committed multiple misdemeanor shoplifting crimes in and around New Bedford and Taunton, according to the D.A.'s office.

After this latest conviction, Torres now qualifies for enhanced penalties for habitual criminal offenders if he commits any future felonies.

Judge Renee Dupuis handed down a three to five year prison sentence.

“This defendant has a history of committing similar crimes against victims who are just trying to run a small business or do their jobs," said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.

"He was on probation when he committed these jewelry store thefts, and is clearly someone who has to be kept off the street to protect business owners and the public."

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