On Oct. 21, police in Middletown, Conn., arrested Thomas Rosiello, owner of the Middletown Jewelry Exchange, for allegedly violating the guidelines of his precious metals dealer license. Rosellio has been charged with six violations of jewelry buying statutes in incidents ranging from April to September.
According to a statement from the Middletown police department, in April, Detective Denise Duffy noticed that a burglary suspect had sold a piece to the Middletown Jewelry Exchange. When the detective contacted the store, she found that the item had already been melted down—a violation of the local licensing requirement that stipulates jewelers hold pieces for a 15-day waiting period.
The detective also charged the jeweler with three more alleged violations: He did not have a cancelled or draft check (which means he paid cash); he did not have a photograph of the person selling the item (he said his digital camera was broken); and he inaccurately described the item on the reporting sheet (it was a gold earring, rather than a gold charm).
In September, Detective Duffy observed that an item listed on the Exchange’s weekly report matched the description of a piece said to have been stolen in a residential burglary. When she went to inspect the Exchange’s records, she was allegedly told they were not available, another violation of the state statute. She also reportedly learned that the Exchange again paid cash for the item, which she deemed a breach of local laws, even though the item turned out not to be stolen.
Later that month, another detective visited the Exchange to review records of transactions, when he saw the name of a person known to have committed past larcenies had sold a gold ring that turned out to have been stolen. When questioned, Rosiello reportedly said that the ring was melted down, which would be another violation of the waiting period. Rosiello also, according to the police statement, admitted that he paid cash for the ring and did not photograph the seller.
Rosiello could not be reached for comment. No one answered the phone at the Exchange. His arraignment has been scheduled for Oct. 28.
Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Cecilia Gardner says this situation is far from unique.
“We get calls all the time, from all over, from jewelers who have been contacted from all kinds of law enforcement agencies,” she says. “It’s not just local police—it’s federal law enforcement, consumer protection agencies. They all have the jewelry industry in their sights.”
She adds that jewelers need to educate themselves about the relevant statutes that govern metal buying by calling the local attorney general’s office or consumer protection agency.
“Most of these laws are easy to comply with,” she says.