Police tipped off when suspect allegedly spent rare coins at restaurant, theater
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2012 -- Police arrested a Vancouver man for allegedly stealing an antique coin collection worth an estimated $100,000 after he reportedly spent some of the coins at a movie theater and pizza restaurant.
According to Woodland Police, one of the coins, a quarter, was worth thousands of dollars. The suspect, they noted, spent it at face value.
According to a police report filed in Cowlitz County Superior Court, a Woodland woman reported the coins, which her mother had collected, missing in May. She said the collection, which she had kept in boxes in her garage, included Morgan dollars, Liberty Head quarters and other rare coins, some which date back to the early 19th century.
Police said Dakoda Garren, 19, had been a suspect in the crime from the time it was reported. The victim told officers she had hired Garren and his live-in girlfriend, Elizabeth Massman, to do some work around her house and that the two had been the only ones other than family to be near the coins. According to the report, when police interviewed Garren, he denied the allegations and said they had no evidence against him.
Then the coins began turning up at area businesses. A Battle Ground movie theater reported that on Aug. 17 a man and woman matching the description of Garren and his girlfriend, paid for tickets in coins from the 1930s. Police later recovered five quarters worth $5 to $68 each, from the theater, according to the report.
Investigators said a theater employee pinpointed Garren in a photo lineup of potential suspects.
Later police learned that also on Aug. 17, Garren and his girlfriend allegedly spent more rare coins at Rocky’s Pizza in Battle Ground. One of those coins was a Liberty quarter worth anywhere from $1,100 to $18,500, said police. The tip about the rare coins turning up at local businesses came from a Clark County resident who had learned of a $1,000 reward for information leading to the thieves’ arrest and conviction, said Woodland Detective David Plaza.
Police arrested Garren on suspicion of first-degree theft. According to investigators, he admitted to stealing the coins and spending some of them at the two businesses.
However, added Plaza, most of the coins have yet to be recovered.
Garren remains in the Cowlitz County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft, with bail set at $40,000. Plaza said investigators have asked that Massman, who is pregnant, also be charged with first-degree theft.
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