A rare Spanish coin, turned into a charm by a Sanibel Island artist in 1996, was snatched from the neck of a Cape Coral senior citizen on Jan. 12.
The 24-karat gold coin from 1715 was ripped from the victim's neck while he was sitting in his convertible in the 4500 block of Del Prado Boulevard. Cape Coral Police reports show a white male in his 30s approached the retiree and asked what time it was. When the victim looked down, the suspect ripped the charm on a heavy gauge rope necklace from his neck and fled on foot.
Police are hoping the one-of-a-kind work of art will help lead them to the suspect.
What the thief likely didn't realize at the time was just how valuable, and rare, that necklace was. The necklace itself is valued at roughly $3,500. The charm, however, currently has a value in the range of $20,000.
"This was a brutal crime first and foremost because a senior citizen was victimized and robbed of something very precious to him," said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. "The crime occurred in the middle of the day on a very busy part of Del Prado Boulevard, so we're hoping that someone may recollect seeing something suspicious in that area around that time frame. Additionally, the rarity of the charm and its financial value definitely would be noticeable to a gold broker or pawn shop, and we hope they would do the right thing and report if they had someone try to sell it to them."
The suspect is described is being over 6 feet tall, with an average build. Anyone with information on his identity, or who may have seen something suspicious around the time the crime was committed, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).
All callers will remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.com.