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Half million in rare coins stolen

December 2, 2008 3:10:17 PM PST
Thieves used a torch and chisel to get through a 2,000 pound safe to steal a coin collection worth about $500,000.Ron Cohen of West Windsor, New Jersey, is still in the state of shock.

While he was away on vacation with his grandchildren recently, thieves broke into that safe in the garage of his Village Grande home, clearing out his beloved coin collection worth as much as a half million dollars.

It's believed the thieves, who carefully planned the heist, worked for almost 6 hours, torching their way through tempered steel and 4 inches of cement to unlock the safe.

"They hit me the night I left," Cohen said. "They had to figure it was cash."

But instead they found 12 black and white binders filled with valuable coins and some jewelry that belonged to Cohen's wife.

Cohen thinks the thieves knew he'd be out of town.

"Had to be somebody who did work at the house and tipped off somebody," Cohen said.

The thieves left their shoeprints behind along with a handful of coins, like an1862 Indian head cent in mint condition.

"Part of the fun of collecting coins is, 'Abe Lincoln could have held this in his hand.' When you collect something for 50 years, each coin becomes like a child," said Cohen.

Cohen is trying to get the word out so that fellow coin collectors can be on the lookout should someone try to sell the stolen goods.

If that hasn't already happened.

"Hopefully whoever buys this collection sees this and says, 'You know what? I got his coins. I've got to give them back,'" said Cohen.

Neighbors apparently noticed this hole in the garage door and saw a vehicle parked in Cohen's driveway but never called police.

Police are investigating, but unless an honest coin dealer or pawn shop owner recognizes Cohen's collection he's out of luck.

He didn't carry insurance on the coins because it was too expensive.

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