Rare Coins Are Uncovered in Office, Box of Surgeon

Times Staff Writer

San Diego police have recovered “a large quantity” of rare coins from the office and a safety deposit box of a wealthy Coronado heart surgeon who was charged in New York City over the weekend with stealing dozens of rare coins from the headquarters of the American Numismatic Society.

Dr. Juan Suros XII, regarded as one of the more prominent heart surgeons in the county, was charged with grand larceny by the Manhattan district attorney’s office after police officers found 91 stolen coins in a briefcase during a search of his room at the exclusive Harvard Club. New York authorities said the coins are worth more than $500,000.

A New York police spokesman said the search was conducted Saturday after society officials reported 13 coins missing after Suros, 48, allegedly handled three trays containing several rare pieces.


San Diego police spokesman Dave Cohen said local detectives searched Suros’ Chula Vista office Sunday and a safety deposit box Monday at the request of authorities in New York. The search produced “a large quantity” of coins, Cohen said.

No Proof of Theft

“We impounded the materials at the request of the New York Police Department, but we have no information at this time to suggest that any of the coins are stolen,” Cohen said. “We understand that a coin expert is flying to San Diego to examine what we have.”

New York police spokesman Joseph Gallagher said Monday that Suros’ Coronado house was also searched and eight stolen coins were recovered. Cohen, however, said San Diego detectives did not search the house, and Coronado police said they have no knowledge of a search warrant having been issued for Suros’ beachfront home.

According to a report in the San Diego Tribune, Suros was released from jail Monday after posting $7,500 bail.

As a member and contributor to the society, Suros was allowed to handle the rare coins. Gallagher said society officials noticed two months ago that several coins--most of which were Spanish and Mexican--would mysteriously disappear every time that Suros handled the trays.

Suros also has a Coronado office.