MILWAUKEE -- Law enforcement and local governments are scrambling to shut down a shadow industry that has grown up around the booming cash-for-gold business nationwide: thieves are snatching jewelry, then converting it into a quick payday at the shops.
Thousands of shops have opened to take advantage of high gold prices and hard economic times, and police in some cities have noticed an uptick in burglaries and thefts.
Milwaukee and other cities are changing the procedures and recordkeeping technology for spotting stolen jewelry before it can no longer be recovered. The usual methods weren't coping with the modern day gold rush.
Gold buying businesses began proliferating when prices started rising in 2005, and sales--and thefts--began increasing.