ST. PETERSBURG - Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested a coin collector for grand theft during an undercover investigation at a local coin show.
The investigation began in December of 2008 after a complaint was made alleging that a member of the St. Petersburg Coin Club was stealing coins from vendors at regularly scheduled shows held at the Disable American Veteran’s (DAV) Hall located at 4801 37th Street North in the unincorporated area of St. Petersburg.
At about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14, a detective assigned to the sheriff’s office Tactical Apprehension and Control Unit posed as a novice vendor using coins provided by other club members.
Detectives had previously set up video surveillance equipment at the hall and within minutes the suspect, James Ellis Marin, 62, of Zephyrhills, appeared at the display table. Detectives said that during numerous visits to the table in less than an hour the suspect allegedly stole eight coins with a total value of $3,000.
After taking the coins the suspect would return to his own display area and place them into a specific container. When confronted by detectives the suspect attempted to explain away his possession of the stolen coins. He was arrested at about 9:30 a.m. on one count of grand theft.
Anyone with information about the suspect or similar thefts of coins is asked to contact Detective Joesph Burns of the Sheriff’s Office T.A.C. Unit, or to remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.