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Man Arrested in ’93 Theft of Rare Coins

TIMES STAFF WRITER

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.

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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.


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