MEDINA -- If your credit cards are stolen, the fraudulent charges are taken off. Federal and state laws assure that.
But stolen items from your house sold to pawnbrokers or precious metal dealers don't fall under that protection. In the case of Eric and Susan Wentz, the stolen items are family jewelry.
The Medina couple had taken in an eighteen-year-old -- a friend of a friend, they say -- to stay with them earlier this year.
But they soon found credit card charges to places they had never shopped and missing cash. Jewelry had also been stolen. The Wentzs called police and the teenager was arrested.
The credit card charges were taken care of by the banks.
But the couple was told by the police and the dealer where the stolen jewelry was sold -- Cashland, a gold and silver dealer in Medina -- that in order to get their stolen jewelry back, the Wentzs would have to buy it back from Cashland after the criminal case was finished.
It is perfectly legal for pawnbrokers and metal dealers to charge the victims to get back their stolen items. But Eric Wentz says he feels "like we've been victimized twice."
A bill has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature that would require metal dealers to hold on to their purchased properties for 15 days, instead of the currently required five days.
Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said "by extending that period to 15 days, it just makes it a little more manageable for law enforcement."
The whole situation may become a bit more manageable for the Wentzs because of Channel 3's The Investigator Tom Meyer's report.
Though Cashland, from both its local store and corporate headquarters, had told the Wentzs they would have to buy back their jewelry once the criminal case was finished, a call to Cashland's corporate headquarters produced a different response.
It was company policy, said a spokeswoman, to give the stolen items back for free if a suspect was arrested and convicted.
"I hope Cashland does the right thing," said Eric Wentz. "We have done nothing wrong, but we feel like we've been victimized twice. If credit cards can figure out how not to charge their customers for stolen charges, I would think the state and the metal dealers could figure out something similar for stolen jewelry."