Travel light.

That's the new motto of thieves in Chestnut Hill, where burglars are going after bling. The neighborhood has been besieged by about 30 residential burglaries since mid-September, and the thugs are bypassing bulky loot like TVs and computers and instead going for the gold.

"They're taking small things they can grab and carry quickly," said Capt. Winton Singletary, who heads the 14th District, at Germantown Avenue and Haines Street. "They steal jewelry and sell it at these 'gold for cash' places, where they melt it down."

The district has called several town-hall meetings in recent weeks to warn residents about the burglaries, which investigators believe involve multiple offenders who are familiar with the neighborhood because they either work or live there.

The most recent burglary occurred Tuesday.

The skyrocketing value of gold helped fuel this larcenous trend, Singletary said. Gold prices have risen in the past decade and are considered a "safe-haven investment" as the value of the U.S. dollar sags, economists say. The price of gold closed on commodities markets yesterday at $835 an ounce.

Besides being in hot demand, gold and other jewelry is easier for burglars to steal than most other booty, Singletary said.

"You can't walk out of a house [unnoticed] with a big TV, but you can with a bag of gold [jewelry] in your pocket," he said.

Cash-for-gold places also aren't as strictly regulated as pawn shops, which require photo identification and submit "pawn slips" of items sold to police, who try to match it against lists of items reported stolen, Singletary said.

Most of the robberies have taken place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when houses tend to be empty, Singletary said. The burglars typically have forced their way inside through the rear of the houses, he added.

Singletary urged residents to lock their doors and windows, set alarms and call 9-1-1 if they see anything unusual. Police have stepped up patrols in the area, he added. *