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Long IslandNassau

On LI, police eye thieves' use of gold-buying companies

Florida legislators have caught on to the fact that thieves like cash for gold, too - just like all the other folks mailing in jewelry to gold-buying companies that rely on heavy advertising. Many such companies are based in Florida and one, Cash4Gold, associated with Albar Precious Metal Refining in Pompano Beach, touts itself as the number one buyer of precious metals direct from consumers. A proposed law would require Florida companies to photograph each piece of mailed-in jewelry. That way, if an item turned out to have been stolen, evidence would remain after the item is melted down. Now, customers only mail in their jewelry and wait for a check. On Long Island, regulation is a bit tighter: Precious-metal buyers must use licensed and inspected scales, get identification from the seller, send descriptions of purchased items to county police and hold items for a specified period - two weeks in Nassau, three weeks in Suffolk - before reselling them. "It gives police a window of opportunity to recover a stolen item," said David Gordon, vice president of Whitman Jewelry and Coin in Huntington Station. Scott Simon, vice president of The Gold Standard, until recently known as Generation Jewelers, with locations in Syosset, Carle Place and Merrick, said any law that makes gold buyers more responsible will be better for the consumer. But he calls on consumers to take more responsibility: Know what the jewelry weighs and what a gold buyer is paying per pennyweight or ounce before selling it. "There are certain Web sites, and brick and mortar locations as well, that take full advantage of uneducated consumers," he said.

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