Tucson man accused of melting stolen jewelry into gold, silver b - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tucson man accused of melting stolen jewelry into gold, silver bars for sale

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A Tucson man has been charged with three counts of trafficking instolen property.  Police said David Reid, 55 was buying stolen jewelry andguns off the street, melting the jewelry into gold and silver bars, thenselling them to precious metal shops.

Search documents just released on Thursday indicated that policefound more than $220,000 of gold and silver bars, jewelry, silver platters,cash, and stolen guns in Reid's home on N. Columbus Lane.

Tucson News Now showed up at Reid's home, and found his bestfriend there who quickly came to Reid's defense.

A man who identified himself as Bill Smith, said he had known Reidfor years said police had made a mistake.

"Big sting operation whatever.  They arrested the mostinnocent honest guy in Tucson, well done with my taxpayer dollars," saidthe man.

We asked him why police had found all of the listed items inReid's home.

Smith said Reid was simply a bargain hunter who collected items,and went yard sale hopping every morning.

Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Chris Widmer said their investigationhad revealed the opposite.

"The jewelry and weapons he was buying off the streets werestolen," said Widmer.  Inside Reid's home, police said they alsofound a large pan typically used for melting metal, a blow torch and otheritems used to melt jewelry.

"He melts lead for making his own ammo to go hunting, he'sdone that all his life," said Smith.

We asked Smith why Reid had such a large amount of gold and silverin his home. 

"He was putting it away for his retirement.  Then whywas he selling it to pawn shops?  He was selling what he could to make asupplemental income," said Smith.

Police said this was a complicated case that took months toinvestigate.  Since most of the stolen items were destroyed through themelting process, it was hard to track down victims affected by this crime.

Reid was released from jail on his own recognizance.

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