Rare coins and gold – totaling $500,000 – were stolen from a vendor at a coin show in Melville on Sunday, police say.
The victim, who did not want to reveal his identity for security reasons, said he asked another salesman to watch his belongings while he went to the bathroom.
That’s when a woman is seen in security footage walking up to this vendor and distracting him while another man grabs the box full of coins and precious metals.
Witnesses say the two alleged thieves fled the event space in a waiting dark-colored SUV driven by a third person. They say he then drove north on Highway 110.
The victim says he sold rare coins and gold at the Melville Coin, Stamp and Collectables Show on Route 110 for several years without incident.
Owner Mark Catapano says the space is used for bingo and is generally quiet.
“I mean, it’s crazy what happened here,” Catapano says. “We never had any problems.”
The victim tells News 12 that he is insured but is not sure if a coin theft would be covered.
“I think it’s very sad to come to this situation that people are doing things like this,” the victim said.
The coin show operator says it is extremely unusual for a seller to have $500,000 in stock at the show, but in the future he will add more security.
Other coin dealers in the area are re-examining their own security due to the theft.
At Numismatic Assets in Melville, just miles from the latest coin theft, the owner told News 12 that trade show security is always important.
“You always have to worry because you can get robbed on the way in or out,” says Paul Zappasodi. “When you get into these trade shows, they usually have the police 24/7 in the convention center.”