LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - You've heard the line: "Trade in your gold or jewelry for cash." But what happens when those valuables were stolen from your home?
Police often have a hard time tracking down stolen jewelry because there is no law stopping jewelry store from melting it down right away. There is a great market for used silver and gold. People can sell it to jewelry stores with few questions asked, and it can be melted down within hours.
Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski said, "Currently there is no law in New York State calling for a measure to deter burglars from selling stolen loot."
Szymanski is calling for a state law that would require a ten-day holding period for used silver and gold. This follows the arrest of two men who police say admitted to a rash of home invasions, stealing people's precious heirlooms and selling them to area jewelry stores, which melted down the items within 24 hours after the suspects were paid. The victims were devastated.
Victim Tom Mazgaj said, "It just don't feel good anymore, you know what I mean? You got to watch everything you do now. Before, I just lock the door and leave. We went for a fish fry. It was 4:30."
Police said the burglars accepted little money for the jewelry, which should have set off warning signs for the stores.
Lackawanna Chief of Detectives Joseph Leo said, "They're giving them ten cents on a dollar, and I found that kind of alarming. Because you could tell if someone's bringing in a thousand dollars worth of jewelry, and you're giving them a hundred dollars back, who would do that?"
Western New York lawmakers in Albany believe they can get a stronger law enacted.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "So it would be visual ID, it would be a photograph, and then a ten-day hold."
The law, if enacted, may discourage would-be home invaders from stealing people's heirlooms for quick cash, and robbing families of treasured possessions handed down through generations.
Marcy Burkett, the daughter of the victims, said, "I didn't actually expect anything, in some years, but, you know, but they said it was going to be mine."
But she won't have it, and neither will her daughter.
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