Entries in Thief (7)


Bumbling Thief Sought in $30k Coin Heist

ABC News(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A Tacoma, Wash., coin shop owner says he’s close to finding out who broke into his store on Sunday, stealing $30,000 worth of coins. The suspect wasn’t exactly an accomplished thief, leaving a trove of clues behind, including picture-perfect views of his face on multiple security cameras.

Since the surveillance video from the burglary was released to the media, American Rare Coin and Collectibles owner Ray Brandt says he’s had four unrelated calls giving him the same man’s name, which he turned over to police.

In the store’s crystal-clear surveillance video, the burglar is seen sawing through the roof, then climbing down a rope tied to a satellite dish to make his way inside. The video shows a man’s unmasked face clearly has he runs straight for an expensive coin display. The man shoves coins into a bag, leaving behind fingerprints, supplies on the roof and even a bag of coins, worth another $30,000, according to Brandt.

“I am so hopeful because I need my inventory back so bad. It’s taken half my life to gather,” Brandt told ABC News. “A lot of the coins that are missing are very hard sought-after coins.”

Brandt said he didn’t think the suspect had ever been in his store, but he did run to a private showroom where only regular customers are taken.

A spokesperson for the Tacoma Police said investigators were having a confusing time dealing with the case because the owner told the investigators he wasn’t able to give them a surveillance tape, yet the police department saw the tape on local news stations later that night.

“He said he wasn’t able to supply any tape and then he got a hold of his newspaper and gave it to them,” said Tacoma Police Department public information officer Loretta Cool. Tacoma police say Brandt finally handed over the tape yesterday, though the burglary happened last Sunday.

“The nine security cameras from Costco was the best investment I’ve ever made in my life,” Brandt said.

Brandt said he wants the suspect apprehended as soon as possible and hopes he will be able to retrieve his coins.

“My hope is to get this person off the streets, he doesn’t just hurt my store, but hurts my family. I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve gotten in my life,” Brandt said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pilot Catches Thief at His Florida Home During Fly-By

Charlotte County Sheriff''s Office(PUNTA GORDA, Fla.) -- Pilot David Zehntner was flying his personal plane from North Carolina to his Florida home when he decided to fly over his house and saw something unusual.

“He observed a silver truck with white camper in his driveway and lowered his altitude to get a closer look,” the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office said in a news release.  “He saw a man looking into the windows of his home then attach his red trailer and pull out of his driveway.”

Zehntner called the police and then began following the thief in his plane.

The runaway trailer was located by authorities who stopped the robber at a traffic stop.  Gary Robert Haines, 59, of Stafford, Va., was arrested and charged with grand theft, police said.  By then, Zehntner had landed his plane and came to the scene to get his trailer back.

Police found a loaded rifle and bullets inside of Haines’ pickup truck, the report said.

Haines was taken to Charlotte County jail and released on Monday on $2,500 bond.  Authorities are still investigating the theft and the weapons that were found in the pickup.

Zehntner did not respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Cops Search for Fake Nurse Who Stole From Assisted Living Facilities

ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The woman in blue scrubs and a white lab coat may look like a nurse, but police say she is a thief who has preyed on seniors to fund her shopping sprees.

Authorities said the woman has made off with credit cards, drivers licenses and social security cards from seniors in at least two assisted living facilities in the Orlando, Fla., area.

“[The way she is disguised] she pretty much could walk around and steal anything she wanted to,” a Winter Park police spokeswoman said.

Last month, the woman attempted to charge $4,000 to a 92-year-old man’s credit card at Target and managed to rack up a $600 tab at the Apple store, police said.

Authorities released surveillance video on Friday in hopes someone will recognize the suspect.

“It’s very, very scary,” the spokeswoman said. “And it’s somebody who is purposefully taking advantage of a vulnerable population.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tennessee Pastor Busted as Possible Burglar by Parishioner

Smyrna Police Department(SMYRNA, Tenn.) -- A Tennessee woman set up a surveillance camera in hopes of catching the thief that had been stealing prescription painkillers from her home, and she did.  But she was shocked at the person she caught fiddling at a door to her home: her own pastor.

Jean Harris, of Smyrna, Tenn., was prescribed painkillers for a shoulder injury.  When pills disappeared from her weekly pill planner and an entire bottle went missing, she questioned family and friends who had access to her house, according to The Tennessean, but the pills never turned up.

So she set up a surveillance camera pointed at a side entrance to her house.  She couldn’t believe when the camera captured Rickey Alan Reed, 55, pastor of the First Free Methodist Church, where Harris had been attending church for 55 years.

The video showed a nervous looking Reed attempting to enter the house.

“You see that he comes up, taps on the door, and looks around, possibly to see if anyone else was there,” said Sgt. Bobby Gibson, Smyrna Police Department Public Information Officer.  “He taps on the window lightly, but he doesn’t waste a lot of time before trying to make access to the lock.”

While the act of manipulating the lock could not be seen in the video, it appeared and sounded as though Reed tried to use a credit card to unlock the door.  But Harris had increased her security since the last time she was robbed, adding a dead-bolt lock, bars on her window and a chain on the door.

“He appeared somewhat visibly frustrated and that’s when he left,” Gibson said.

After watching the video, Harris didn’t know what to do.

“I took me a week and a half of prayer,” Harris told The Tennessean.  “But if I didn’t [turn him in], he was going to keep doing this.”

She called the police and Reed was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary.  He is currently free on bond, but police suspect he may have had other victims.

“From what we understand, he knew when people would be at the church,” Gibson said.  “That’s when he would go.”

Police believe there may be as many as five other victims, but Gibson said parishioners have been reluctant to report their pastor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


San Francisco Police Nab Suspect in Picasso Theft

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco police have arrested a suspect in the brazen theft of a Picasso drawing.

The incident took place at the Weinstein Gallery at 383 Geary St. around 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The thief took the pencil sketch entitled "Tete de Femme" and escaped in a taxi.

Surveillance footage from a nearby bar gave police an image of the suspect on Wednesday. The nature of the theft -- whether it was premeditated or spontaneous -- remains unclear.

The police are expected to give a press conference at 10 a.m. California time on Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Picasso's 'Tete de Femme' Stolen from San Francisco Museum

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A missing pencil drawing wouldn't normally be a top priority to San Francisco authorities, unless that drawing was done by Pablo Picasso and was stolen in broad daylight.

The Picasso drawing was hanging in the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco when witnesses say a man walked through the entrance, took the painting off the wall and left in a waiting cab.

The 1965 pencil drawing, "Tete de Femme," which translates to "head of woman," is valued at $200,000.

The thief did not get away cleanly, though. San Francisco police are reviewing two surveillance videos they believe could show the suspect.

The first video came from a restaurant on the block and shows a man matching police and witnesses' descriptions carrying a framed piece of art. His most notable attribute was that he was wearing a dark jacket and loafers with no socks. According to police, the frame size appears to be the same dimensions as the stolen Picasso -- 10.5 by 8.5 inches.

Wednesday, police tracked down and impounded the get-away cab as evidence. They interviewed the driver, who gave them more information about the suspect, though they would not specify the information he provided or if it produced any leads.

Gallery president Rowland Weinstein told ABC News San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV that he is going to work harder on securing the exhibits.

"I feel sorry because it really, truly is my goal, and always has been my goal, to be able to bring exactly what you see in this gallery, original works by Picasso, Moreau [and] Chagall, onto the street level," said Weinstein. "I want it to be available to the public."

Police have already received tips because of the high profile of the case. They are urging anyone with information to call their hotline number -- 415-575-4444.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Old Man' Stops Grinch From Stealing Christmas

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAYLOR, Mich.) -- Tom LaMay wasn't about to let the Grinch steal his Christmas. But that's what the 79-year-old Michigan man said he saw happening Christmas Eve when he and his wife Mary came home from shopping for bird seed.

LaMay told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit that when he pulled up to his house, there was a strange car in the driveway, with the trunk open and an old rag hanging over the license plate. He told his wife to call 911 while he investigated. As he walked up the driveway, he said, a man in his 20s confronted him and told him there was no one home.

"He reached for tire iron in the back of the car," LaMay said. "He said, 'I'm gonna hurt you, old man.'"

LaMay said he was able to wrestle the man to the ground, but as they struggled the suspected thief seemed to have the advantage, and even bit the 79-year-old's hand.

"He got the better of me, and I was on the bottom in this snow pile," he said. "And I kept grabbing his legs and tripping him, until eventually I got the supremacy, I was on top. And I kept hitting him, trying to keep him occupied, while my wife could successfully use the telephone and get this guy down."

Mary LaMay was able to call the police in time, and as the cops approached the house, the suspect jumped in his car and sped off. Police caught him, however, when he crashed a short distance away.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio