North Palm Beach Coin Theft Victim Hopes to Reclaim His Life

Coin theft in North Palm Beach

Even though he’s in the finance industry, Michael Johnson really isn’t working much right now.

A coin collector since he was 16, he owned about 100,000 coins.

Some weren’t worth very much, but others were and it was an important source of financial security for him.

At least until Johnson became the victim of a North Palm Beach coin theft that altered his life.

Kindness repaid with theft

Shane Mele is a 40-year-old man that Johnson met through mutual friends several years ago.

Johnson befriended the man, who was on hard times, and recently Mele reached out on social media to say that his wallet had been stolen and he was looking for help.

Johnson let Mele shack up at his business office.

Johnson’s kindness was paid back one morning last December when he arrived to find the office ransacked.

The lock on the cabinet was broken and his coins were gone.

Blue tape had been placed over the security cameras, but they were on long enough to show Mele as the one who did the taping.

Mele took the coins and went to South Florida Coins & Jewelry.

He was able to sell some of the commemorative coins for a little over $2,000.

What he couldn’t sell, he took to Coinstar, the machine that turns coins into currency.

As financial moves go, this one wasn’t exactly astute.

Mele dumped the remaining coins and got about thirty bucks in return—off a collection that Johnson said was worth in the neighborhood of $330,000.

Mele has been caught, but Johnson is still “in a world of hurt,” as he described it.

The coin collection was vital to his financial plans and he said there’s no insurance that covers this—at least not at the financial levels that Mele stole from him.

George Hornberg, the owner of South Florida Coins & Jewelry, is cooperating with law enforcement in their effort to locate the stolen coins. North Palm Beach Coin Theft

Coin theft in North Palm Beach