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MailTribune.com
  • Police look at ways to catch jewelry thieves

  • More crooks could be nabbed for selling stolen jewelry at pawn shops if the City Council agrees on ways to make it more difficult to fence the goods, Medford police say.
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  • More crooks could be nabbed for selling stolen jewelry at pawn shops if the City Council agrees on ways to make it more difficult to fence the goods, Medford police say.
    Medford Police Chief Tim George said the increase in gold prices has attracted drug addicts who need a quick money fix to support their $100-a-day heroin habit.
    "They've got to have money and they've got to have it now," he said.
    The City Council agreed to have city staff push forward with drafting an ordinance that would give police more tools to work with pawn shops.
    Currently shops that buy jewelry and gold are required to keep it for five days before it is melted down. Police say they need at least 15 days because the investigation process is often longer than five days.
    Many other cities in Oregon require a holding period of seven days up to 30 days.
    "Currently, we in Medford have the lowest rate in the state," Detective Sgt. Brent Mak said.
    Originally, he said the police were going to ask for 30 days, but settled for 15 days as a compromise to pawn shops, which say the wait-time could hurt business and reduce the amount of money they can afford to pay to customers.
    Some council members also suggested taking photos of customers who sell jewelry, though most pawn shops have camera equipment installed.
    — Damian Mann
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