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Be careful – jewellery snatchers on the prowl

Be careful – jewellery snatchers on the prowl

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Internationally renowned jeweller Denzel Bacchus believes that more should be done to clamp down on persons who purchase gold on the streets.{{more}}

Bacchus, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week, said that persons who legitimately have gold to sell, should do so through a professional dealer.

The jeweller, with 39 years experience under his belt, noted that the purchasing of jewellry through un-established means increases the possibility of stolen items going undetected. He, however, takes precautionary measures against making such purchases.

Bacchus was speaking to SEARCHLIGHT in the wake of reports of a rise in jewellry theft here.

“They can’t bring them (stolen gold) here, because I keep a record of all gold I buy, and I keep a record of ID numbers.”

“If it comes to me, it comes under false pretense. People come and bring stuff here many times and I send them back,” he disclosed.

Bacchus said that as an extra measure, he has refused to purchase gold from children, unless accompanied by a parent or a responsible adult.

The proprietor of St. Vincent Jewelry Outlet, situated upstairs the Sprotts Building on Bay Street, Bacchus said that he has been purchasing gold, and to a lesser extent silver, here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the past three years.

He said that the purchasing of gold by legitimate dealers would get the seller full value for their items, which is not the case if they were to do so through persons buying gold on the streets, or who exchange clothes for gold.

“Most of these people are getting ripped off. They might think that their gold is not worth that much, but the truth is that it could be worth more.

“When you exchange your gold for a top (clothing) and the top is worth $40, your piece of gold may be worth more than the top.”

“Try to get somebody legit to look at your stuff…. If it has diamonds in it… how would these ‘cash for gold guys’ know if it has real diamonds?” Bacchus advised.

Bacchus, who revealed that he was arrested on two occasions, having been accused of purchasing stolen property, said that he has nothing to hide from the authorities, since he operates on the ‘up and up’.

On the two occasions Bacchus was arrested, he said he was vindicated shortly afterwards.

He indicated that most of the gold that he purchases on a regular basis are broken fragments brought in by persons who really need money.

“It’s a hard time in St. Vincent and people are going to do whatever they have to do to earn money; but 99 per cent of the people that sell to me are people who legitimately need money, rich people and poor people.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, offering advice for persons who wear jewellry, especially gold chains, said that it is best if they do not expose their chains, but wear them inside their clothes.

“We notice that there is now an upsurge in the number of reported cases of chain snatching and also blackberry (cell phones). We believe that somebody is purchasing these stolen items from people.”

“I want to advise persons, if they are running a jewellry store and they are buying these things from these people, desist from doing it. You will be creating a ready market for these people.”

The Commissioner, who indicated that there is a possibility that the thieves may be networking with each other in their criminal activities, said that the ‘Cash for Gold’ men, who are not as frequent as before, may have persons buying on their behalf.

Miller said that there has been an increased police presence in certain areas around Kingstown, where these robberies have been committed.

One week ago, prominent trade unionist Joseph Burns Bonadie was robbed of his gold chain in the Higginson Street area.

The chain and suspect have not yet been found. (JJ/KW)

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