A Liberty Township
man has admitted stealing thousands of dollars in rare silver U.S. coins
from an elderly relative and cashing them in at the Coinstar at the Portage
Wal-Mart, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
Brian Ruge, 20, of
892N 100W, has been charged with theft and forgery, police said.
police, on Saturday an officer was dispatched to Ruge’s residence to take
the complaint of family members who reported that Ruge, when confronted, had
admitted taking the coin collection and using a signature stamp to forge a
relative’s name to 10 checks stolen from her.
Those checks were
all made out to Ruge, cashed between July 7 and July 16, and totaled $5,166,
meanwhile--silver coins minted prior to 1965--had been kept in several Mason
jars hidden on a specially constructed shelf in a hallway closet, police
said. Ruge’s relative advised that she and her late husband had been
“collecting those coins for decades,” that she maintained a list of them,
and that they could be worth a minimum of $20,000 but that she’d never had
the collection appraised, police said.
Those coins, police
said, Ruge told his family members he’d taken to the Wal-Mart Coinstar
because he “didn’t know how valuable they were.”
Also stolen: two
pads of $1 Joseph Bar notes, with a face value of $100; two collectable
“Radar” notes with a value of $40 each; and two $100 notes of sentimental
value, as they’d been in Ruge’s grandfather’s pocket when he passed, police
subsequently taken into custody and booked into the Porter County Jail on
charges of theft and forgery, police said.