A 28-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the theft of about $2 million worth of gold and silver bars and rare coins from the home of a Fairfax County couple, according to police and a search warrant.
James Martinez of the Alexandria section of Fairfax County has been charged with grand larceny with intent to sell; the items were taken from his neighbor’s home.
The victim had collected more than 1,490 ounces of gold and 5,300 ounces of silver, including gold bars of various sizes and valuable coins such as South African krugerrands, Australian gold kangaroos and Austrian gold philharmonics, according to the search warrant.
The owner of the gold and silver noticed about the third week of June that the items had disappeared from a spare bedroom where he kept them hidden, according to a search warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
The man told detectives that he suspected Martinez had carried out the theft. The victim said Martinez knew he collected gold and silver and had been inside his house on many occasions to do odd jobs and care for his dog. The man said Martinez also knew he kept one of his doors unlocked.
The victim also noticed that Martinez had spent large amounts of money in recent months, according to police. When the victim confronted his neighbor, police said, Martinez told the man that he had made money selling an exotic drug and denied knowledge of the theft.
Investigators discovered that Martinez had sold large amounts of gold and silver at pawnshops over the past year, including more than $340,000 worth to one shop in Alexandria, according to the search warrant. The items matched those in the victim’s collection.
Police said that a search of Martinez’s home turned up silver bars, coins and currency but that most of the victim’s collection has not been recovered.
Martinez did not return a call for comment, and no attorney is listed for him in the court system.