HUDSON — After the first burglary in May, he put bars on his windows and a dead bolt on his bedroom door. A 68-year-old retiree spent years amassing a collection of prized coins. The most valuable ones were the Morgan silver dollars.
The coins were made between 1878 and 1921 and ranged in prices up to $120,000 for the most rare. The man's collection was worth more than $70,000.
All of it is gone, authorities say.
Deputies say a teenager broke into the man's home in May and again in June and crept off with the entire collection. The teen accused of the crime, Christopher M. Matta, 19, was already in the Pasco jail facing charges of raping a 13-year-old girl when he was charged Thursday with two counts of residential burglary. His fingerprints were found at the retiree's home on Seeley Lane in Hudson.
The victim, who was not able to be reached by the Times Friday, told investigators he has been collecting coins in recent years and always buys them online or at coin conventions.
"There ain't nobody who would know about the coins in my house," he said, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
After the May crime, he put aluminum bars on his windows. Unfortunately, the bars were easily bent — just enough for a person to slide through — which is how the burglar struck again in June, a sheriff's report states. The victim never relocated the various silver coins that remained from the first burglary to a safer place. Those coins were worth about $1,000.
Fingerprints taken from the scene were matched to Matta. The victim said "he does not know the defendant, and there is no reason that his fingerprints would be on his window," the report states.
It was unclear on Friday whether any of the coins had been recovered.
Matta, of 14016 Bream Drive in Hudson, has been in the Pasco jail since July when he was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. The girl told deputies Matta got into her bed around 2:30 p.m. June 30 and forced her to have sex even though she repeatedly said no, according to the Sheriff's Office. Matta told investigators the girl agreed to have sex.
He is awaiting trial in that case and is charged with lewd or lascivious battery. He is also on probation for grand theft of an auto vehicle, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
He is being held without bail at the county jail.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.