Nightly News | August 21, 2011
>>> we're back now with a look at a gold rush of sorts as the stock market takes investors for a bumpy ride. a lot of people are looking for a safer place to invest. they are increasingly turning to gold. that's causing the price of gold to soar and leading some crooks on a gold rush of their own. we get the story tonight from nbc's aditi roy.
>> reporter: they smash. they grab. and they go. brazen jewelry store break-ins in los angeles and new york.
>> there's a lot of jewelry being exchanged for cash, and we don't know who's watching. we don't know who's looking. so we're very, very careful.
>> reporter: at a time when gold is more valuable than ever. in the last year, the price has gone up 49%. reaching a high of more than $1,881 an ounce on friday. this has prompted thieves to go for gold in bold ways. even snatching necklaces right off people. in one case, surveillance video shows a robber walking up to a 68-year-old blind woman and pulling a chain off her neck. according to one report, there have been 110 similar cases this year in just one area of downtown los angeles .
>> i wouldn't want to wear anything that would put me in the center of attraction or center of attention by people who steal.
>> reporter: last week police in oakland, california, issued a warning to women.
>> if you choose to wear gold, you know, you should at least conceal it under your clothing.
>> reporter: thieves often sell their gold to unlicensed gold dealers . one northern california pawnbroker who didn't want his face on camera is worried about the impact on his business. so we hired a private investigator to document how easy it is to sell gold on the street.
>> showed that the private investigator walks into the shop, sells the jewelry. nobody requires any ids. no signatures required. no fingerprints required. they just walk out with cash.
>> reporter: jewelry store owners are trying to fight back. one way is by hiring extra security guards and posting them outside their stores.
>> there is definitely a fear out there, you know. we have to take better precautions.
>> reporter: as skyrocketing prices drive more and more people to go for the gold. aditi roy,