When the economy falters, the general rule has been a marked increase in the price of precious metals. No doubt this precept resounded throughout the head of Teresa Tambunting as she stockpiled approximately $12 million worth of gold in her home, which weighed close to 500 pounds over a 5 year period. How did this crafty caper take place? The 50-year-old vault manager of Long Island City’s, Jacmel Jewelry, since 1991 (and employee since 1981) constructed a hidden compartment in her pocketbook. This past January, a company employee noticed a sizable amount of inventory was missing and an investigation was launched. The prospective Tambunting was released on $100,000 bail and ordered to return to court on May 19. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on charges of first-degree larceny and first-degree criminal possession of stolen property.