Gem Shopping Network founder Frank Circelli arrested on DUI charges

Frank Circelli, founder and chairman of television’s Gem Shopping Network, was arrested twice in recent weeks on DUI and traffic-related charges, according to incident reports obtained from the Suwanee Police Department on Friday.

The reports, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, show Circelli was arrested early Christmas morning and again just after midnight early New Year’s Day. Both arrests involved multiple charges of driving under the influence, and at least one cited alleged possession of a synthetic narcotic. The reports show Circelli was released on bond after being taken to the Gwinnett County Detention Center after each incident.

Repeated efforts were made Friday to reach Circelli and Gem Shopping Network for comment.

The Gem Shopping Network, which is celebrating 15 years on the air, specializes in rare gemstones, fine jewelry, estate jewelry and collectibles, according to its website. It was started by Circelli, a gemologist, and went on the air in May 1997. The channel says it reaches more than 40 million households and it’s on both cable and satellite TV.

According to one Suwanee police incident report, an officer, identified in the report as Officer Robert McCoy, was dispatched to Settles Bridge Road near Barony Drive and found Circelli’s 2008 Jaguar in a northbound turn lane with its reverse lights on early Dec. 25. The officer said he found Circelli sleeping with his foot on the brake pedal. The ignition was in the “on” position but the engine was not on. Music was playing, McCoy said.

The officer said there was a heavy odor of alcoholic beverages and he found an open bottle of Grey Goose Vodka in a brown bag. The officer said he put the vehicle in “park” and asked Circelli if he was OK.

McCoy said Circelli only mumbled profanities when he was asked questions and he kept dozing off. The officer said the Jaguar’s wheels had damage as if the vehicle had hit the curb. The Gem Shopping Network founder was then placed under arrest.

The report says several deputies at the Gwinnett lockup had to help Circelli from the police car because officers were unable to get him to his feet.

Police also said they found small pill in a plastic bag, and when Circelli was questioned about it, he again began to use profanities. The pill was later identified as a pain pill, and Circelli was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, in addition to DUI and having an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Circelli was taken to jail just before 7 a.m. and was released just before 10 a.m. Christmas Day.

Then on New Year’s Eve, Circelli was arrested again, records show, and Suwanee police leveled a dozen charges against him after he was involved in a traffic accident with injuries.

Police were called to the scene around 11 p.m. at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and McGinnis Ferry Road, according to the incident report filed by Officer Omar Lee.

A witness told Lee a green Jaguar, later determined to be driven by Circelli, slammed into the driver’s side of her Mazda as she traveled north on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and was making a left turn. The officer found the Jaguar with extensive damage and he smelled alcohol on Circelli, whose speech was slurred and eyes were glassy, the officer said in the report. Circelli answered using profanities when questioned, the officer said.

Circelli told Lee he’d had only one drink and that someone had hit his Jaguar, although he couldn’t tell the officer the direction he was driving or where the accident had happened, according to the report.

Circelli was again handcuffed and taken to the Gwinnett County lockup. He faced a dozen charges of DUI and failure to obey traffic signals. He was taken to jail at 12:06 a.m. Jan. 1 and was released later that day.

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