GASTONIA, N.C. -- A thief in Gastonia remains on the loose after police said they steal thousands of dollars in jewelry and other items from a house a week ago.

Among the items police are looking for include two gold rings, a pair of diamond stud earrings and a commemorative coin collection.

NBC Charlotte found last February that 440 burglaries were reported in the Charlotte area in a four-week span.

Former career criminal Tommy Carson said the most effective method to deter would-be thieves is for homeowners to keep their house brightly lit.

"Privacy fence, any type of trees or foliage around it, seclusion," Carson said on the types of homes he would look for. "We always went in with a stopwatch knowing we have 3 to 4 minutes and we're gone," Carson said.

Gastonia Police continue to investigate the jewelry theft.