Gold is a precious metal that is always in demand. With the price of gold going up, as well as the burglary rate in Los Angeles, a recent LAPD sting operation targeted cash-for-gold stores in Los Angeles who allegedly knew they were buying stolen property.

Initially, the operation begun with officers listening in on a conversation between an undercover police officer who attempted to sell “stolen gold” to the proprietor of a cash-for-gold shop. During the exchange, the undercover officer revealed to the owner of the store that he was a thief, and it was acknowledged by the store owner. After the verbal exchange, the owner of the store agreed to buy the stolen gold for 10% of its appraised amount.

After her arrest, shop owner Maria Miranda said “I had a feeling (that the jewelry was stolen) but if you sell something, I’m not going to ask you ‘Did you steal it?’ Is it yours?’ You don’t want to offend people like that.”

According to LAPD sergeant William Sanders “They’re opportunists. They’re more than willing to take these items.”

The store that was targeted in the current sting was the 11th such cash-for-gold store that has been investigated by the LAPD this summer, with 8 of the 11 stores knowingly purchasing stolen gold.

LAPD Captain Kris Pitcher says “When we had an escalation in the price of gold, what we were seeing in terms of property being taken from these reports was gold jewelry, gold jewelry, gold jewelry.”

According to the LAPD, they will continue to target stores in sting operations that they suspect are buying/selling stolen goods.