Thieves in the night

Brazen burglars snatch thousands of dollars in coins

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Marla Ross returned to her Coeur d'Alene home early Sunday morning to find two men in the process of making off with two safes full of rare gold and silver coins.

COEUR d'ALENE - A home safe loaded with up to $100,000 in gold and silver coins was stolen from a Coeur d'Alene residence in a brazen burglary just before 1 a.m. Sunday.

"It's unreal," homeowner Marla Ross, 54, said Monday.

When she arrived at home, in the 900 block of 16th Street, she spotted an unfamiliar dark-colored Ford pickup truck with oversized tires backed up in her driveway.

She exited her car and saw a man standing in a side doorway of her home, and she demanded to know what he was doing inside her home.

She then saw a man get out of the pickup truck. To her surprise, he yelled at her to get out of his way, walked up to her gold 2006 Chrysler 300, got in and sped south on 16th.

The other man then jumped in the truck and took off in the same direction.

Either because they were interrupted in the act or it became too heavy to load, the men left a second and larger safe loaded with far more coins in the driveway. Police said the two safes had approximately $250,000 worth of coins combined.

After the burglars sped off, Ross rushed into her home to check on her elderly father, who is physically disabled following a stroke.

He was unharmed and still in bed, though he was awake as the burglary unfolded.

The burglars broke in through the side door, Ross said.

Along with the coins, they also snatched prescription medication belonging to her father.

She quickly scribbled down the large pickup's license plate, which she gave to police.

At 4:15 p.m. Monday, Ross' car was found on the 1900 block of E. Montana Avenue, just blocks from her place.

One of the suspects was described as standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and being "heavy set," police said.

"When dad rolled over and saw him he thought there was a monkey in the room," Ross said. She estimated the men had been in the home for about 10 minutes.

The other suspect had a thin build and was approximately 6 feet tall, police Sgt. Christie Wood said.

"There was no indication the men were armed," Wood said.

Ross said both men used scarves, shirts or other clothing to conceal their faces during the incident.

She suspected the men likely heard about the coins stored in the safes prior to the burglary.

"They were waiting and watching for the opportune time, watching my comings and goings," she said.

Wood said the investigation is on-going.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Coeur d'Alene police at (208) 769-2320.

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