AKRON, Ohio - Summit County detectives said they're getting slammed with burglary reports in which crooks are breaking into homes and specifically stealing gold jewelry.
Inspector Bill Holland said the Summit County Sheriff's Department has handled dozens of cases this year and this type of crime has jumped 10 percent over last year.
"I've got eight reports on my desk right now from the Green and Coventry area that we're investigating," Holland said.
Holland said many thieves are breaking into homes during the daytime and snatching gold necklaces, bracelets and rings. He believes some of the crooks then take the stolen valuables to cash for gold stores.
"They (the crooks) thrive on opportunity and when they go in and they see gold sitting there, they think, 'Wow, that's easily converted to cash,'" Holland said.
Earlier this month, Allan Myers, of Green, came home from vacation, discovered an unknown vehicle in his driveway, and then saw a stranger inside his home.
The crook realized he had been spotted and walked out the front door. When Myers tried to ask the man some questions, he made a quick getaway.
"About an hour or two later, then I realized we had some jewelry missing," Myers said.
Several gold necklaces, bracelets and rings were taken from the couple's jewelry case in their bedroom.
Patsy Myers said her wedding ring was stolen along with her retirement necklace.
"Another thing I had stolen that's really sentimental is a bracelet of my mom's. It was from Biltmore and it was white and yellow gold," Patsy Myers said.
"Gives you an uneasy feeling. You think you're pretty safe in this area out here in Green, but you just don't know anymore. Everything seems to be moving out to the suburbs now ," Allan Myers said.
Holland advises locking up your jewelry in a safe and taking a video of all your valuables.
"List serial numbers and things of that nature. That makes it easier for us if something does get stolen for us to trace these items," Holland said.
Holland said cash for gold stores do not have a responsibility to determine if jewelry is stolen, but the stores are supposed to check for identification and specifically document the type of jewelry they buy.
However, Holland said that documentation is often lax, which makes tracking stolen gold jewelry difficult.
"What we're seeing is they're not documenting the items specifically, just a generic entry of a certain weight, 14 karat gold," Holland said.
John Ruggiero, manager of Sam's Emporium, a retail jewelry store and pawn shop in Akron, said his business goes the extra mile to document the details of the gold jewelry they buy in case it turns out to be stolen.
"A ring has so many diamonds in it, the size of the diamonds, the color of the gold, whether it's white or yellow gold, 10, 14 or 18 karat. We get pretty specific," Ruggiero said.
Ruggiero said businesses like his are governed by the state of to ask for a state issued ID, but he knows some cash for gold stores that are pop up on street corners don't always follow the rules.
"Be wary. If you're going to go into a gas station and sell gold, you've got to be wary. Something is up with that," Ruggiero said.
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