Burglaries in White River Township
Sheriff Doug Cox wants you to be informed about Burglaries in White River Twp, and Vehicle Thefts in the County.
Two Center Grove area homes were broken into this week, and the burglars were looking for jewelry that they could quickly sell and never be traced to, the county Sheriff said. That will change this summer. A new law taking effect in July will give police a better chance to find stolen jewelry at local cash-for-gold stores and arrest the people who burglarized the homes.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office received reports of four burglaries in the Center Grove area within the past month. In each case, someone broke in and ransacked houses stealing jewelry and coins.
Slowing Down Criminals
Jewelry thefts: Homeowners reported four burglaries in the Center Grove area in the past month. In each case, someone broke into the house and stole jewelry and coins.
Gold selling: Jewelry thefts are becoming more common because thieves can sell the items to cash-for-gold stores, which aren’t required by state law to take identification or hold on to jewelry before it is melted down.
New law: A new law taking effect July 1 will require gold stores to follow similar rules as pawn shops. Those rules include taking identification, photographing all items stores purchase, reporting items to police and holding them for at least 10 days.
Two burglaries occurred Tuesday in the Center Grove area in the 500 block of Walnut Woods Drive and the 1100 block of Old Eagle Way. In both incidents, someone pried open the front door and went through drawers and closets, stealing jewelry and gift cards. That kind of theft has become more common in recent years because burglars can quickly sell the jewelry at a cash-for-gold store, Sheriff Doug Cox said. Current state law doesn’t require gold stores to take identification or hold jewelry for a number of days, so a stolen necklace that’s sold to a dealer might be melted down the same day, Cox said.
The new law will require gold stores to follow rules similar to pawn shops, such as requiring a photo identification, photographing any items sold to the store, reporting all items to local police and holding jewelry for at least 10 days. Police have seen a shift in burglaries because of similar rules that pawn shops are required to follow. In the past, criminals would target rural homes and would steal large items such as televisions, guns or computers to pawn, Cox said. Now police are seeing more burglaries that occur in neighborhoods in the middle of the day, where jewelry or coins are the only items stolen.
“They’re going to the master bedroom for the jewelry box,” Cox said.
The burglar can then find a gold store that doesn’t require identification and sell the jewelry, which may be melted down before the owner even realizes it’s gone. Sheriff’s deputies aren’t able to locate the items easily, and if they do, chances are they have already been destroyed, Cox said. That kind of theft occurred to Center Grove resident Mahala Jones, who lost about $20,000 worth of jewelry three years ago after a relative stole it and sold it to a gold store. She discovered the theft about a month later and found out the jewelry had been sold to a gold store for $630, she said. By the time police went to the shop, the jewelry had already been melted. The relative was arrested and pleaded guilty to a burglary charge, according to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office. Some of the jewelry were custom gold and diamond pieces made by a neighbor that can never be replaced, she said. “I lost so much, and it still grieves me today all I lost,” Jones said.
The reporting and hold time will give police a chance to recover some stolen jewelry before it’s destroyed as well as find the person who sold it, Cox said. The law could also help discourage the burglaries, which are dangerous because they’re typically occurring while neighbors are home, Cox said. When police do arrest someone for burglaries, the break-ins are almost always connected to drugs, Cox said. The burglars are desperate, so they break into houses in order to get quick cash for drugs from pawning items or selling jewelry, Cox said. “One of these is going to go bad one of these days and it’s going to get ugly. These were daytime burglaries, and there were people at home,” he said.
Sheriff Cox also would like to make everyone aware that vehicle thefts are on the rise. Please make sure you hide all belongings and lock your doors on your vehicle upon exiting.
Please visit www.johnsoncountysheriff.com for further information on the vehicle theft cases.