A recent crackdown of six ‘Cash-for-Gold’ establishments in the Englerston area has uncovered thousands of dollars in stolen gold and silver jewelry, police revealed yesterday.
Officer-in-Charge of the South Central (Grove) Division Superintendent Philip Don Wilson said some of the operators melt down the gold items within the hour of purchasing them so that police cannot see them.
Mr. Wilson said police would have an easier time detecting and arresting perpetrators if the owners of these establishments would assist the authorities.
“Some operators out there are sharp,” he said. “They would say that they are working with us, they would meet with us but when we check their records, they haven’t followed the agreed protocol, they haven’t taken a photo of the items they receive as they are asked. In fact, (they don’t) hold out until these things have been cleared, they don’t take a photo of the culprits, they don’t get photo identification, they don’t wait on police clearance.”
Mr. Wilson said many of these jewelry exchange operators have not consulted the police to ensure that the items they received were not stolen.
But he said that is where the problem sneaks in, noting that there is no legislation in place now mandating the operators wait for police clearance.
A team of officers from the South Central (Grove) Division executed a number of search warrants between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. last Thursday and retrieved an assortment of chains, bracelets and even gold and silver dinnerware like spoons and forks.
According Mr. Wilson, many victims of theft reported that they were in the Coconut Grove and Robinson Road areas when they were confronted by teens who snatched their items and fled to the Florida Court and Key West Street areas.
“What we expect from operators of Cash-for-Gold is just due process,” he said. “If someone comes to you with a chain or something that has popped, we expect common sense to kick in. if the chain is worth about $3,000 and they will accept just $300 for it, please let your common sense prevail and assist.”
He is now inviting anyone who have had items stolen items to visit the Grove Station to identify and claim the items.
“Please bring proof or [let us know] if you are able to confirm any special markings on your stolen items,” he added. “Let me make it abundantly clear, one will only be allowed viewing if you made a complaint with a police station or department and your data is lodged within our computer records.”
According to Superintendent Wilson, these Cash-for-Gold businesses are also popping up at residential homes that operate by appointment only and offer private one-on-one sessions.
He added that a number of operators were arrested during last week’s raids but were let go pending investigations.
Once residents identify their stolen items police plan to go back to those Cash-for-Gold operators to wrap up their work and question why certain items were not reported, he said.
From January 13 to June 9 this year the Grove Station recorded 78 stealing incidents in that area alone.