Man Arrested in ’93 Theft of Rare Coins


The co-owner of a Glendale coin shop is responsible for the recovery of nearly $500,000 in rare silver and gold coins stolen more than a year ago from a Long Beach coin show, and the arrest of a suspect in the theft, authorities said.

Robert Van Bebber recognized the coins Monday when some of them were brought into his Coin and Stamp Galleries by a man attempting to sell them, police said.

Thomas J. Riccio, 31, of Bell, described by authorities as a baseball card dealer, was arrested Monday by Glendale police who responded to a call from the employee, said Officer Robert Velasco of the Long Beach Police Department.

“Coin dealers are a close-knit group, they know each other and when there is a theft like that, they are aware of it,” said Det. Sgt. Jim Rodriguez of the department’s burglary division.


Inside the man’s home, detectives found two safes containing most of the 1,100 coins, which are valued at between $350,000 and $500,000, Velasco said.

Riccio was booked on suspicion of grand theft, receiving stolen property and on outstanding traffic warrants, Velasco said. The FBI is conducting a separate investigation into possible charges of federal interstate theft and transportation.

The coins were taken from the Long Beach Convention Center after the show closed sometime between Feb. 6 and 7 last year, Rodriguez said.