net $4M in coin convention heist By TRAVIS REED, Associated
Wed Jan 10, 4:51 PM ET
Fla. - Robbers in surgical masks pulled off a $4 million coin
heist at knifepoint outside a coin dealers convention, getting
away with gold, silver and a rare 1843 set of currency once
owned by President Tyler, authorities said.
It was the second time in two years that
the Florida United Numismatists' annual coin show had been
hit, and this year's loss was much larger.
On Saturday, a Minnesota coin dealer's employee
was unloading an SUV outside a luxury hotel when a robber
in a surgical mask and a hooded sweater grabbed him from behind
and held a knife to his throat, witnesses and the victim told
authorities. Two other masked men grabbed a suitcase from
the SUV, according to authorities.
"It's a brazen happening. This kind
of thing doesn't happen often at all, at knifepoint,"
said Robert Brueggeman, head of the Professional Numismatists
Guild and owner of Positive Protection, which provided security
at the convention.
Deputy Carlos Padilla said the coins were extremely rare,
which could make it difficult for a thief to sell them. "I
guess it makes you wonder if the people that committed this
crime even knew what they were getting," Padilla said.
Last year, thieves stole about $450,000 worth
of coins by breaking into cars, most of them while dealers
ate in restaurants.
This year, the convention's organizers had
increased security with more off-duty sheriff's deputies and
a 24-hour secured room where dealers could store their coins,
convention coordinator Cindy Wibker said. The four-day show
attracted 1,750 dealers.