The great Asian gold theft crisis
With its value at a record high, gold has never been more attractive to thieves. Now burglars with metal detectors are targeting the homes of British Asian families for their collections of high-quality ‘Indian gold’ jewellery
Emine Saner Emine Saner guardian.co.uk
Tuesday 31 January 2012 15.00 EST
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Five weeks ago, she came home one evening to find the door ajar. The downstairs floor of her house was relatively untouched but upstairs the bedrooms had been ransacked – drawers opened, wardrobes emptied, clothes and belongings scattered everywhere. “It was such a huge shock,” she says, sitting on the sofa, her voice breaking slightly. Her husband, Mr Rashid (neither want to give their full names), a big man sitting across the room, shakes his head. “They took it all,” he says.
The thieves who broke into this semi-detached house in Earley, near Reading, stole around £70,000-worth of gold jewellery. To those who are not from a south Asian family, it might seem remarkable to own so much valuable jewellery, but families such as the Rashids (Mr Rashid runs a small business) live in ordinary houses and are not particularly wealthy. Their gold collection – elaborate necklaces, rings, earrings and bangles – is treasure that has been handed down from generations of their families in Pakistan or bought as wedding gifts. It’s our savings, our security, says Mrs Rashid, visibly upset. If, in future, the family needed money, they would have sold some pieces. “It’s like paying a mortgage for 20 years and then having a house worth thousands of pounds afterwards – it’s the same thing with gold,” she says. “Our parents gave it to us, we would have given it to our children, they would have given it to their children,” says her husband. They tried to put their gold in the bank, but “there were no lockers available. Everyone is looking for one.”
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You have to not look like a victim. And, make it hard to find.
Crazy that you can’t be secure in your own home.
Tie that back to the UK’s dole, gun laws, and generally tolerant attitude towards crime.
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