June 16, 2016 – A suspected thief was tackled by a Positive Protection, Inc. security guard as he tried to escape at the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo on Friday, June 10, 2016. An alleged accomplice with a backpack containing more than $300,000 of rare coins was also taken into custody.
Both suspects were turned over to Long Beach police on suspicion of burglary, robbery and possession of stolen property. Two other suspects were arrested the next day and more stolen coins were recovered.
“They reportedly were trying to sell coins at the Long Beach Expo in the Long Beach Convention Center. One dealer they approached, Karl Stephens, thought the coins they were offering had been stolen earlier in a robbery in the San Bernardino, California area,” said Patrick Coward, a guard for Positive Protection of Temecula, California, a company that provides security services for coin and jewelry dealers.
“When the suspects tried to leave, the dealer shouted out to stop them. I was nearby and when one suspect started to run I chased him and tackled him at the door. Additional security personnel from the show helped subdue him. The second suspect was stopped without a problem at the door as he tried leave. His backpack was filled with more than 100 ancient coins and other gold and silver coins worth more than $300,000,” explained Coward, a former New York City homicide detective.
The brief chase and the tackle were captured on surveillance video at the booth of Stack’s Bowers Galleries of Santa Ana, California and New York City.
“With the help of a knowledgeable dealer and the fast action of trained security professionals, two suspected thieves were caught and valuable, stolen rare coins have been recovered,” said Robert Brueggeman, President of Positive Protection which provides on-site security for all the Whitman Expo and American Numismatic Association convention shows. “We always want a safe, enjoyable environment for dealers and the public at these collectible shows, but we also must always be on alert.”
A day after the capture of the two suspects at the coin show, Long Beach Police arrested two more suspects who reportedly came to retrieve the car of the first two suspects. Investigators recovered from the car what is believed to be the remainder of the stolen rare coins.
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