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Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Investigators think gold buyers are getting stolen goods

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An increase in jewelry thefts have investigators questioning where it’s ending up.

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The customer who brought this piece of jewelry to Windsor Jewelers received more than $1,500 for selling it to the store.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
The customer who brought this piece of jewelry to Windsor Jewelers received more than $1,500 for selling it to the store.

“I have a sneaking suspicion that most of it is going to the gold-buying businesses,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Godden.

The gold-buying industry saw an increase in business around 2008 when the economy hit a downturn and gold prices rose. Although the business is not as strong as it was then, those in the industry said they’re still seeing opportunities.

At least 25 Richmond County businesses are advertising gold-buying. Some are jewelry stores venturing into the market, but authorities say they are also seeing sellers operating out of car dealerships, convenience stores and flea markets.

The problems police across the country see now are similar to the problems they saw when prices for nonferrous metals began to rise.

Suddenly televisions and other high-dollar electronics fell from the thieves’ list, replaced by air conditioners, piping and wiring.

Since then, legislation has cracked down on sellers, making it more difficult to sell items obtained illegally. However, similar steps have not been made for gold.

A Richmond County ordinance mandates gold-buying locations are required during a sale to obtain picture identification, wait three days before sending gold to be melted down and keep a log of purchases for police. Sellers are also required to have a precious metals license.

Police, however, said three days is a very short period to find the stolen goods before they are shipped out of the area.

An Augusta jewelry store recently became one in a list of stores across the Southeast where thieves walked out of the store carrying the most expensive gold chain available. Local officers said it appears gold prices could be driving the crimes.

In all cases, a man dressed in a suit enters a Kay Jewelers store and asks for the $3,000 chain by name or asks for the most expensive chain in the store. Once it’s in his hands, he flees.

“People working in gold-buying businesses should be cognizant of people like that coming in,” Godden said. “If someone brings in a $3,000 chain that’s brand new, that should set off a clue.”

Michael Zibman, the general manager at Windsor Jewelers, said it’s not unusual to see police coming around looking at the purchased gold.

With the holidays approaching, Zibman said he expects the number of gold sellers to increase.

Police also encourage homeowners to document their jewels with identification numbers and photos in case they are stolen.

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Just My Opinion
5296
Points
Just My Opinion 11/26/12 - 05:55 am
10
0
What??? No! Are you telling

What??? No! Are you telling me that bad guys are stealing gold jewelry and then SELLING it??? For money??? Wow. These folks who figured this out sure are smart. I guess that's why they're called "bad guys".

corgimom
28416
Points
corgimom 11/26/12 - 06:15 am
8
0
That's right, stop the

That's right, stop the presses, thieves are selling stolen jewelry to gold buyers! Who would've ever guessed? Wow!

Riverman1
79736
Points
Riverman1 11/26/12 - 07:52 am
7
0
Gold, gold, gold

Gold, gold, gold. It's the ultimate money. Wars have been fought over gold. And there's another side to controlling its buy and sale. It's like saying, people steal money when you say gold being bought and sold could have been stolen. Figure out how to make it illegal to sell or buy gold and you would accomplish something no government has ever done successfully...nor should they do.

Don't forget executive Order 6102 in 1933 required gold and gold certificates be turned in for paper money. Cautious individuals moved their gold to foreign countries.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/26/12 - 08:46 am
5
1
HYPE before the LAW?

Maybe I missed it?
But, I have never heard of a $3000 GOLD CHAIN Jewelry Store snatch & grab robbery in Augusta, in the 3 years that I have been reading the AC again.

Besides any stolen $3000 24K necklace becomes pieces of scrap before it is turned in that is all. Or, it is worn on Friday/Saturday Date Nights to impress a possible future baby momma.

Riverman1 makes a point .
At $16Trillion worth of national debt. We are already at the point of a WORTHLESS $$$.

Gold & Silver are the only 2 common ways of retaining buying power against hyper inflation.

If people are AGAIN forced to turn in their gold or silver and are paid in utterly worthless dollars, at a rate set by the US Government. Then moving gold and silver and/or oneself onside the USA is the only safe haven.

Remember:
A majority of the USA has no one to blame but themselves for the $16T debt.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/26/12 - 08:51 am
5
0
Hey !! Fred Russell

here is a NEW TAX Opportunity for you to propose.

Buying and Selling Gold/Silver transactions.

Special ARC Permit, ARC license per Temp. location, ARC Special Fee, like the add on you pushed for Sunday Sells.

cp44
23
Points
cp44 11/26/12 - 08:52 am
5
1
Windsor Jewlers

"It is funny they show Windsor"....What? By showing "Windsor Jewelers", it just proves their credibility and that Windsor Jewelers is VERY accountable for their actions (buying, selling, etc.)!! I do believe the content that this article is trying to prove is if you allow someone to buy your gold from a low-rider SUV or possibly a pawn-shop that carries a bad reputation then trouble may follow. When you allow Windsor to purchase your gold,silver, etc. they do not just throw it in a grocery bag and melt it down. There is much data that goes into their systems and "if" the jewelry was stolen, it will fall back on the seller. Do not get on this article and try to create a bad name for "Windsor Jewelers". I do not see any other comments made to the Augusta Chronicle from other Jewelers......

Little Lamb
44018
Points
Little Lamb 11/26/12 - 09:10 am
6
1
Human Interest

This story would have so much more impact if they could have featured a real person who was apprehended for selling stolen gold jewelry because of Windsor Jewelers’ careful documentation of sellers’ identification.

Alas, no.

Equaltreatmentforall
49
Points
Equaltreatmentforall 11/26/12 - 09:40 am
3
1
Ya Think?!

Ya, think?! The picture would make a thief go out and steal more as it looks like there is not accountability, just determination of the money he will get.

cp44
23
Points
cp44 11/26/12 - 10:17 am
2
0
DaDum

Maybe they could not get a picture of someone being apprehended at Windsor because the crooks are to scared of being "caught". That is why the article is bringing to the reader's attention that "Gold buyers" are purchasing gold in ways that do not seem legal (out of car dealerships, conv. stores, etc.). @ Equaltreatmentforall- I must agree that the only thing going through a crooks mind would be the determination of the money they will receive. @ little lamb hence the fact that there is no picture of a "gold-digger" in the Windsor picture because of their well known reputation. You would have to be a full blown idiot to even think you could pull one over on Windsor....oops, I am sorry if I offended anyone. Windsor is a very classy store and red flags would go flying if someone of a "thief-like" walked in and approached the employees and tried to sell stolen jewelry. That store knows more about you before you walk in than your own mother!! Just saying. I am not wanting to argue, I just wanted to make it a clear point that "Windsor" was the one chosen to be in article AND there is an ad for their store on this same page!! To me that does NOT shout "We buy stolen gold and silver"!!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/26/12 - 10:37 am
3
0
Here's one for you

Clearwater SC.
an AUTO-REPAIR shop with a big sign "WE BUY GOLD" at the best prices in the CSRA.

BTW: if I had a few $1,000 extra laying around I'd be buying Gold at 70% of market also. A 30% ROI would be great in this economy.

allhans
23298
Points
allhans 11/26/12 - 02:09 pm
4
0
When "We Buy Gold" is

When "We Buy Gold" is plastered on our TV screens, on road sign, etc. then what were we expecting. These folks advertising for gold just begging more thievery,

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 11/26/12 - 02:21 pm
2
1
Next thing you know people

Next thing you know people will be selling drugs for money. I would have never guessed the gold connection. THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP!

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 11/26/12 - 03:58 pm
2
1
Reminds me of that
Unpublished

Reminds me of that "operation" on the southside....where a certain pawn shop was allowed to buy stolen guns all under the guise of "keeping Augusta safe"...I wonder if Roundtree will have similar "operations"...

Has anyone checked the what the price of gold is per oz. these days?!? ...and you wonder why all of the "We Buy Gold" people are popping up everywhere....

When the dollar fails, gold will be the new currency......Gadafi wanted to only deal with gold currency......well we all know what happened to him...good ole America.

Just My Opinion
5296
Points
Just My Opinion 11/26/12 - 09:12 pm
2
0
Okay...a show of hands

Okay...a show of hands please...who here thinks that cp44 works at Windsor Jewelers?? Calm down, dude...I think most people didn't think twice about WJ being involved with the criminal element. I mean, what did you want them to do....have pictures taken down at Rollo's Gold and Hair-Weave Emporium??

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