Chesterfield homeowners beefing up security after break-ins - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chesterfield homeowners beefing up security after break-ins

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - More home burglaries in Chesterfield where only jewelry is being stolen. Since we first reported the crime earlier this week, many of you have called 12 to tell us about your own break-in.

Gold appears to be what the crooks are after. But those in the business of buying that precious metal are keeping a close watch for hot jewelry.

We spoke with one dealer who said police reached out to her about the recent burglaries in the county.

One victim, who lost thousands in jewelry just before Christmas, said her neighbors are terrified they'll be next.

After NBC12 aired a Brandermill woman's story about a home break-in Monday, another woman called with an all too familiar ordeal at her Ashley Grove home.

"Came to the door, jerked [the screen door] off the lock and took their foot and knocked it in," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

She was away only an hour, but that was enough time for the crook to snag her best jewelry from atop her bedroom dresser. The items stolen included gold rings, some with precious stones, that had been in the family for generations.

"There's room for 24 rings there and they took every one," said the woman.

Chesterfield police say they've seen an increase in jewelry thefts countywide since November.  The crimes come at a time when the price of gold is just over $1300 an ounce.

"People know that is the most valuable thing out there right now versus electronics or anything, so I think that's why the break-ins are focusing more or less on jewelry," said Carrie Simpson at The Gold Exchange on Hull Street Road.

Simpson won't buy gold from anyone under 18 or without valid I.D. Jewelry is kept for 10 days before its melted down. She says police frequently check in.

"We're pretty much on alert all the time," said Simpson.

Just days after the burglary in Ashley Grove, the homeowner installed an alarm. She said her neighbors have followed suit after several similar burglaries were reported  throughout the county. By sharing her story, she hopes it keeps others from going through the same frustration.

"If they have any valuable jewelry please hide it," she said.

Chesterfield police say they don't know if all the thefts are related. They have reached out to other police departments to compare cases.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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