CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - They hit quickly, and in some cases what they steal disappears almost as quickly.
We're talking about gold thieves. Daylight bandits who steal gold jewelry from homes, sell it for cash and disappear. It appears to be a big problem on the west side.
It's no epidemic but there have been a steady stream of home burglaries in affluent westside communities. Among them but not limited to here is Westlake and across the city limit into Rocky River.
At times you feel like you're bombarded with ads for places offering cold hard cash for your old, unused jewelry. But where do those mounds of jewelry come from?
"Just this morning we stopped a guy on Crocker Road, he was wanted for burglary," Captain Guy Turner with Westlake Police told us.
In Westlake, Capt. Turner sees no connection between gold prices and the number of burglaries, but says jewelry remains a frequent target of thieves.
One place a thief isn't likely to go is a legitimate pawn shop. At Howard's Jewelry Center, Howard Hurwitz says that's because of strict regulations that require him to hold what he buys for 15 days, log a description of the item or items, the seller's name, address, description as well as their drivers license number
"We need to have that available every single day for the police department should they want to come over and look at what we bought," says Hurwitz.
He believes thieves go to precious metals dealers who only keep stuff for 5 days before dumping it. Even worse, he says there are weekend traveling buyers who are here today and gone tomorrow.
"The fly by nights I call 'em yeah. There's no licensing and even if they should be licensed they're not."
Bottom line, what is stolen today could be melted down tonight with no way to identify it for a theft victim.
"We just don't have the same level of contact with and cooperation with them as we do with these established businesses."
With more people working during the day burglars are hitting homes in broad daylight. Not because they're bold but because there are fewer neighbors home to notice them. Bottom line, watch out for your neighbors.