KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- You've probably been told to protect your valuables. Necklaces and rings have always been a target for anyone looking to make a quick buck. But with gold prices hovering between $1700-$1800 an ounce, that quick buck just got bigger.
It's a modern day gold rush, only they aren't panning they're stealing. Less than a month ago Kells Silver and Gold Eschange saw it first hand in their parking lot. Anderson County Sheriffs followed a group from a home burglary to the shop. They were looking to sell a pillowcase full of jewelry.
Inside the shop, walls are decorated with court dates, evidence of a growing problem. Knox County Sheriff's Office has watched the crime rate grow steadily for a year.
Planning and Development Director Martha Dooley tells us, "Anytime you have metals like gold or silver or copper going up, then yes. We're going to see an increase in those items being stolen."
Kells does their best to protect themselves with every item. A copy of a driver's license that's kept for thirty days, in case the gold is reported. Its not just a golden rule, its a state law.
Mistakes can be costly, whoever sells the stolen jewelry has to pay them back, but not immediately. In the past two years Kells has returned thousands in gold, and received a grand total of $150.