RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOV) – West St. Louis County police are warning of a sharp increase in residential burglaries done by thieves who are looking for gold jewelry to pay for their drug habits.
Something as small as a class ring could bring in $600 at a Missouri Gold Buyers store and police say they need reforms to stop burglars from turning a quick profit.
A Town and Country neighborhood is home to the latest victims of a burglar who struck around noon on Monday. The burglar was able to take a laptop and jewelry from the house located in the 1500 block of South Mason.
Residential burglaries are up 25 percent in Town and Country in the past year and police think many of the burglars are heroin users who turn stolen gold in for cash at gold-buying stores.
Store owner Mike Duke has taken a new approach when he buys jewelry. Duke takes a picture of the jewelry he buys at each of his six stores along with the driver’s license of every customer. He then mails the pictures to police everyday which has resulted in 100 arrests in the past year.
Currently, only St. Louis City and Fenton have adopted regulations requiring the digital photographs.