Johnny Cash did it in “One Piece At A Time.” Jason Robards did it in Max Dugan Returns (ten-year-old me loved that movie). And now Teresa Tambunting joins the ranks of those fictional counterparts whose patience and determination resulted in a vast heist over an extended period-in this case, six years. Unfortunatley for Tambunting, the resolution of this story does not involve an amalgamated Cadillac or a heartwarming reunion with a long-abandoned family; no, the Scarsdale mom may get a 25-year sentence for stealing $12 million worth of gold from the jewelry store at which she was employed.
The 50-year-old Tambunting hoarded her growing treasure trove in 5-gallon buckets in their basement, law enforcement sources said.
The theft began to unravel in January, when the company audited its Long Island City headquarters vault and discovered $12 million in inventory missing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
They had grown suspicious that their losses were more than the normal 3% annual rate, law enforcement sources said.
Realizing the jig was up, Tambunting confessed in February and returned the ill-gotten gold in a series of large luggage bags, some of which were “so heavy she needed help from the garage employees to get it into the building.”
Anyway, the investigation proceeds; there’s a question as to whether Tambunting’s husband knew about the gold, which she stored in their home. In any event, it’s hard not to admire the perseverance it must have required to put a single item a day in your purse and cart it home. If there’s a lesson here, it’s try to keep your theft under that 3% cut-off. Then you can ride around in style and drive everybody wild, ’cause you’ll have the only one there is around. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s Johnny Cash. Man, what a great song.