2 million coins worth $200,000 stolen from truck in Philadelphia: police

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are updating their theft assessment of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pennies stolen from a parked truck in Northeast Philadelphia Thursday morning.

Now they say about $200,000 worth of coins, or 2 million coins, were taken from the truck.

In the case of pennies and a board, they say a trailer containing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pennies was broken into overnight in a Walmart parking lot in the 4300 block of Byberry Road in Northeast Philadelphia just after 6 a.m. Thursday.

According to police, the truck had about $750,000 in pennies in it on 15 pallets – $50,000 per pallet.

The thieves entered 5 pallets and indiscriminately removed the coins, scattering the coins around the truck and lot as they removed them from bags.

Investigators first estimated that at least $100,000 was stolen. On Friday, that estimate rose to $200,000.

The truck was headed to the Miami, Florida mint from the Philadelphia mint located in Old City.

Police said the driver took the coins from the Old Town Mint on Wednesday and drove to the Northeast, where he lives.

Authorities said he parked the trailer in the parking lot and went home to rest. It’s unclear if he will face charges, but another driver said it’s not common practice to leave a trailer unattended.

“With me, I can leave it. This is what I have to do. But I leave it at the store for them in the driveway, but you shouldn’t leave it unattended, no,” said this driver.

Video from Chopper 3 showed pennies strewn across the Walmart parking lot near Woodhaven Road.

CBS News Philadelphia

Police are looking for a group of “10 or more men” dressed in black. They are also looking for a white Chrysler 300 pickup truck with tinted windows.

Police said they do not believe the driver was flagged and he was being questioned by detectives. Although the details of this case are strange, cargo theft is common.

“There’s been a lot of cargo theft here and there in Northeast Philly and South Philly in the following months where we’ve taken lamb, chicken, televisions, refrigerators, etc., alcohol,” Capt. John Ryan said.

It took the teams hours to clean up the mess, and rightly so – with $750,000 worth of coins in this track, there are perhaps 7.5 million coins to clean up.

According to the US Mint website, a dime weighs 2.268 grams. So if 2 million pennies were stolen, that equates to about 10,000 pounds or five tons of weight.

“It’s also a lot of work, moving that amount of weight,” Ryan said.

The robbery gave the neighborhood a rude awakening.

“I heard the helicopters so I looked out the window and saw everything blocked and I thought what could possibly be going on?” Jasmine Waters said.

“I think it’s amazing,” Catherine Piluso said. “Nowadays they’ll steal anything. It’s crazy. Nothing is safe.”

Police are now reviewing surveillance footage in an attempt to find out who may have broken into the trailer.

No arrests have been made.

The investigation continues.

Pennies and dashes: Police investigate coin theft in Northeast Philadelphia

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