Victim of a robbery in Chaumont-Gistoux, Nicole lost 95,000 euros in precious jewels: “I no longer have a chain left”

Nicole was the victim of a robbery at the beginning of December at her home in Chaumont-Gistoux, Walloon Brabant. The thieves stole all her jewelry, with a total value estimated at 95,000 euros. Some unique pieces of hers were destined for an exhibition. Devastated, the 80-year-old woman hopes to find these inherited items. She remembers this traumatic day…

On December 6, returning home after a hospital consultation, Nicole did not immediately realize that her house in Chaumont-Gistoux had been burglarized. “METERThe house was not messy at all. I saw that there was a light on. I thought I had forgotten to turn it off when I left.“says the 80-year-old woman. A little later, she enters her room and notices that the small tray she uses every night to place her jewelry is on the floor. Then she realizes that someone has entered at her house while she was there Nicole runs to the place where she had hidden her precious “treasure” a few days before.I opened my drawer and all my jewelry was gone.“, she says.

One of Nicole's stolen jewelry.

Her jewelry was going to be displayed.

It's a real nightmare, there's nothing left… They've taken away all the valuable pieces he inherited. This loss is enormous. Nicole values ​​it at 95,000 euros. “Everything is gone, I don't even have a chain to wear anymore. I only have my wedding ring“, saddens the victim.

Aware of the value of some very rare pieces, he had always taken care to keep his jewelry in a bank safe. But recently, Chaumontoise has made it all public on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Mont-de-Piété, the public institution that practices pawnshops. “I had to display them, because my jewelry is made by the jeweler Demaret.“, specifies Nicole. That's why she kept her things at home while she waited for this long-awaited date.

Sentimental value

Since this theft, the resident of Chaumont Gistoux is inconsolable because most of these pieces have great sentimental value. “Some jewelry dated back to 1925, others belonged to my grandmother and mother-in-law. The ones I had received as inheritance, I never wore because they are no longer wearable jewelry. they are too ostentatious“confesses the victim, whose fur coats were also stolen that day.

“A jewel has great value in relation to its size”

After the incident, Nicole immediately filed a report in hopes of finding certain items. But she doesn't get her hopes up. Thieves are always interested in jewelry because they are easy to sell, as confirmed by the Federal Police.

A jewel is an object that is very interesting to the thief. It is often easy to steal because it is rarely found in a safe, but rather in a drawer. It has a great value for its size. It is easy to hide, transport, sell (…) And there are many clients to resell“explains Sandra Eyschen, spokesperson for the federal police.

“It is difficult to trace the origin”

When it comes to precious metals, stolen jewelry is often melted down before being resold to a gold buyer. In this case, it is very difficult to trace the origin. Things are also complicated because thieves and fencers often cross borders to sell their loot, the spokesperson adds.

But the situation is gradually changing thanks to international collaboration. “In recent years there has been an increasing number of international exchanges of information between the countries of the European Union and associated third countries. International collaboration intensifies. This brings results, including the identification of owners.“says Sandra Eyschen.

More chances of finding unique pieces?
The federal police also explain to us that resale over the Internet poses challenges, but this applies to all types of theft or illegal trade. When it comes to unique pieces, like Nicole's, and as long as the thief is knowledgeable, he will sometimes choose to resell them in their initial form. In these types of cases, the owner is more likely to be found. “It often happens that numerous pieces of suspicious jewelry are found. Even when it is difficult to establish a direct link between a theft and an owner, there is still the possibility of opening an investigation.“, reassures Sandra Eyschen.

If the suspect does not have a satisfactory explanation as to the origin of the objects in his possession and it can therefore be inferred that they are of illegal origin, he may be subject to an investigation for concealment or money laundering even if the jewelry cannot be. returned to a victim.

Les chances de retrouver l'objet augmentent si c'est une piece unique ou un objet non-unique que l'on rend unique (for example la engravure d'un signe distinctif ou quelque chose qui fait référence au proprietaire), note-t -she.

There is already an obligation to keep records

Limiting the use of cash in the resale of precious metals is part of the new security measures. From now on, the professional will no longer be able to exceed an amount of 500 euros when purchasing from an individual. If the budget exceeds this amount, they must make a transfer to leave a trace of this transaction.

There is already an obligation to keep records in companies, but this regulation could be even more rigorous. “The law imposes very little regarding this registry. The buyer must note the identity of the person who presents himself, but must not write down the description of the object or record in his record a link between the seller and the object sold.“explains Sandra Eyschen.

There is no database of stolen jewelry that purchasing jewelers can consult

There is also no database where jewelers can check whether the jewelery they want to buy is stolen items. However, several measures are taken to avoid receiving stolen goods. First of all, people who come to sell jewelry or precious metals must be over 18 years old and in possession of a European identity card. After estimating the objects from the weight and value of the stones, all the coordinates of the person are encoded in the system, explains David Doutrepont, general director of the Or & Argent jewelry store in Verviers.

“Theft insurance does not come into play”

Nicole's jewelry was insured but theft insurance only provides coverage under certain conditions, according to ABC Assurance…

• theft (for example, a forced door or window)
• climb (for example, use a ladder to enter through an upstairs window)
• use of fake keys
• use of stolen or lost keys
• intrusion by deception (for example, the fake agent who comes to read the indices of gas and electricity meters)
• intrusion with the complicity of a person authorized to enter the building, provided that the facts have been judicially proven. Insurers generally exclude thefts perpetrated with the complicity of relatives (ascendants, spouse) of the insured, as well as thefts perpetrated by domestic servants.
• robbery with violence or threats against the insured.

The person who broke into her house had a spare key and entered through the door, she said. So there was no theft. “In this case theft insurance does not come into play.“, certifies Nicole. Even if the owner has suspicions about who is responsible for the theft, the facts must be legally established before insurance can intervene.

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