LARGO – Three men were arrested June 26 for stealing $50,000 worth of silver bars and currency from Glenn’s Rare Coins in Tri City Plaza, according to Largo police.
Largo police coordinated with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to catch the men selling the silver to undercover officers June 26. Von Karl James, 50, of Tampa; Victor Rocchi, 22, of Tampa and Randy Isbel, 28, of Clearwater were arrested at the Sherton Tampa East Hotel and charged with dealing with stolen property.
Three men reportedly stole the silver bars and currency June 24 at 11:15 a.m. Over the next several days, Largo’s investigative services division tried to locate a cellphone that the suspects were believed to be using, conducting several surveillance operations using various technical resources. The operations were unsuccessful.
However, a coin dealer in Largo called the Largo Police Department June 26 to report that he had been contacted about purchasing $9,900 in silver. The call was made from the same cellphone number the police were tracking in the theft case.
The investigative services division, with Detective Chris Berard taking the lead, began an operation to locate the suspects. The detectives attempted to coordinate the purchase in Pinellas County, but the suspect said he did not have transportation and wanted to do the deal in Tampa.
Largo met with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office narcotics supervisors to formulate a plan for an operation in the lobby of Sherton Tampa East Hotel, at 10221 Princess Palm Ave. A Largo detective remained in Largo with the coin dealer to coordinate the transaction. Largo detectives guarded the perimeter of the hotel. Several agents watched the undercover officers in the hotel.
Two men reportedly showed up to make the sale that evening. A third acted as lookout. The merchandise was set out on a table and a negotiation began. When the prices was decided and the deal successful, deputies and Berard moved in to take the suspects into custody. The lookout tried to escape, but was stopped in the parking lot by police and detectives.
Largo detectives interviewed the men and also searched the two hotel rooms the suspects had rented. They found additional stolen silver. A Hillsborough County forensics team responded and took the evidence. A stolen vehicle reportedly used in the robberies also was seized.
The men were arrested at around 9 p.m. and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail several hours later, according to jail records.
Berard turned in warrants for the Largo armed robbery to the state’s attorney’s office June 27.
Largo Police Chief Jeff Undestad congratulated his officers for a “great case with quick closure and great teamwork with our friends at Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office,” in an email July 3.