May 20 • 02:50 AM

Gold diggers cashing in on spike in prices

Sheriff warns residents to beware

April 09, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — Lots of people have been trying to profit from the recent spike in gold prices but according to police, not everyone has good intentions.

Sheriff Ron Kalanquin has issued a warning to Lapeer County residents, cautioning them to think twice before handing over their precious metal to just anyone as part of a gold exchange. There are specific laws to be followed.

Anyone who exchanges gold for money must obtain a dealer’s certificate from the local police agency where they will be doing business. photo by Maria Brown.
"In order for a precious metal and gem dealer to purchase your gold they must have a certificate of registration from the local government in which they conduct business," Kalanquin said in a press release.

"The precious item received by the dealer must be retained by the dealer for nine calendar days without any form of alteration."

Within 48 hours, the dealer is required to notify law enforcement of the transaction. Deputy Pam Cross said police use the information to cross-reference their stolen property records.

Cross said that by law, a dealer must be registered with local police to perform a gold exchange for each jurisdiction they conduct business in. That could stipulate they hold several certificates if they perform their services at benefit events or home parties, which are growing in popularity.

Just last week, the county board of commissioners approved the Sheriff Department's request to establish a $50 fee to issue such certificates to dealers who must submit to a background check as part of the process.

"Adjoining counties have reported that some precious metal and gem dealers are altering the scales and paying people much less than what the gold is worth," Kalanquin said.

"If you have any questions or concerns we suggest you take your jewelry to a reputable jeweler to verify the weight and value."

The rising value of gold will no doubt catch the attention of thieves too, Kalanquin said.

"We may also see an increase in residential break-ins," he said.

"We suggest you keep all your precious gems in a safe or in a safety deposit box. It may also be beneficial to take photographs of all your jewelry so that in the event of a break-in you can identify the jewelry."

Currently, gold is trading on the commodities market at more than $900 an ounce and some analysts believe the metal is poised to jump in value again, according to the Dow Jones Industrial's Commodity News for Tomorrow publication.

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