Published: Feb 26, 2014 5:31 PM EST
Updated: Feb 26, 2014 7:02 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral man is behind bars accused of stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry and then pawning it at M&E Gold Store, by Mel's Diner on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. 

Cape Coral police say Brayton Logan pawned his mother in law's precious jewelry, including family heirlooms that he stole over the course of a year and a half. 
The precious items were worth more than $28,000. Detective Sergeant Dana Coston says very often, people who steal items like jewelry, use pawn shops to get quick cash. 

He credits a good working relationship with some of southwest Florida's pawn shops, for helping police solve cases. 

"The relationship is important because the shop owners don't want to be on the hook for getting something they eventually wont be able to sell and they've already given money for," said Sgt. Coston.

In cases like this one, which deals with property crimes, police say time is of the essence.  "Property has a tendency to disappear very quickly," Sgt. Coston said. 

If someone steals your stuff, Sgt. Coston says you need to report it immediately. Pawned precious metal is usually melted down in 30 days. 

Police sometimes show photo line-ups of suspects to pawn shop owners, to help identify suspects. The owner of this pawn store wasn't able to identify Logan from photos, but he was able to pull up transaction receipts.