PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal authorities have released more details and unsealed charges in the theft of more than 2 million dimes earlier this year from a tractor-trailer that had picked up the coins from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, with court records showing that the case extended to Baltimore County.
The truck driver was bound for Miami when he pulled into a parking lot to sleep on April 13. During the night, thieves made off with a portion of its cargo of $750,000 in dimes, a shipment weighing about six tons, authorities had said earlier.
Thousands of coins were left scattered all over the lot in Northeast Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that prosecutors contend that the theft — which they now say totaled $234,500 in stolen dimes — was part of a spree of robberies from tractor-trailers passing through the region that also netted the thieves frozen crab legs, shrimp, meat, beer and liquor.
Detectives said at the time that surveillance video showed six men, dressed in gray hoodies and armed with bolt cutters, approaching the truck in the middle of the night and breaking into it, then loading the coins into smaller bags and into a waiting truck.
The indictment unsealed Friday alleges that after the theft, thousands of dimes were converted into cash at coin machines in Maryland or through deposits to at least four different suburban Philadelphia banks, the newspaper reported.
Four Philadelphia men — 25-year-old Rakiem Savage, 31-year-old Ronald Byrd, 30-year-old Haneef Palmer and 32-year-old Malik Palmer — face conspiracy, robbery, theft of government money and other charges.
Federal prosecutors wrote in charging documents the men exchanged thousands of dollars worth of the dimes at Coinstar machines in Cockeysville and Towson.
“On or about May 7, 2023, at the direction of defendant RONALD BYRD, Person #1, a person known to the grand jury , exchanged thousands of dollars worth of United States dimes at Coinstar machines located in Cockeysville and Towson, Maryland. Person #1 then sent BYRD text messages of the receipts of the dime exchanges,” prosecutors wrote.
Messages seeking comment on the charges were sent Monday to attorneys for Savage and Malik Palmer; court documents don’t list attorneys for Byrd and Haneef Palmer, and a message could not be left at a number listed for the latter.
Banner reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.