View Full Version : Millions of nickels stolen from Fed

01-17-2005, 02:02 PM
After seeing these old ladies last night cashing in a few buckets of nickels at the casino, this story makes me wonder if they are here in Vegas......

Millions of nickels stolen from Fed
Seen anyone cashing nickels like crazy?

By Mark Potter


NBC News

Updated: 7:27 p.m. ETJan. 14, 2005

MIAMI - The trail begins at the Federal Reserve building in East Rutherford, N.J.. In mid-December, a large tractor-trailer is loaded up and heads south, bound for the Fed in New Orleans. Sealed in back of the truck is $180,000 worth of newly minted U.S. nickels. They are in 900 bags and weigh nearly 23 tons.

That's 3.6 million nickels — and soon they would just disappear.

"Somebody actually went out and stole 3.6 million nickels," says FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela. "I mean, who would ever think that would happen?"

FBI agents and police are baffled over how it happened. The driver, Angel Ricardo Mendoza, a private trucker from Miami, has also disappeared.

"He's either a victim or a suspect," says Sgt. Richard Mestre of the Miami-Dade Police Cargo Theft Task Force. "We're not really sure."

Mestre is used to dealing with stolen cars and appliances, but he's never seen a case involving nickels.

There are very few clues. Investigators do know that after leaving New Jersey, Mendoza gassed up at a North Florida station on Dec. 19. They have the credit receipts. On Dec. 20, Mendoza called his boss, saying he was in Tallahassee and would soon arrive in New Orleans. He never made it and hasn't been heard from since.

On Dec. 21, the 18-wheeler turned up at a truck stop in Fort Pierce, Fla., with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition.

All those nickels in back of the truck? Gone!

"There was no sign of violence whatsoever," says FBI spokeswoman Orihuela.

So, if someone steals 3.6 million nickels, how does he cash them in without attracting attention? Police say it would have to be done very slowly, in small amounts and at many different places, like grocery store counting machines. And even if he were able to cash in $500 worth of nickels every day, it would still take an entire year.

It's a mystery that has some people wondering if it could possibly be worth all the trouble.

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6826757/ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6826757/)

01-19-2005, 04:12 AM
Anyone want to play poker.. we'll play with nickels.. I'll bring.... lol

01-19-2005, 03:38 PM
hey, 500 bucks a day ain't bad at all.

01-19-2005, 07:22 PM
hey, 500 bucks a day ain't bad at all.

hell yeah..forget working!!

01-19-2005, 11:28 PM
But trying to cash in $500 in brand new nickels everyday would not be that easy or that could be alot of slot playing time.

01-20-2005, 03:35 AM
I wonder if the local goddesses would accept 400 nickels?

Hmmm. Imagine how popular you could be with all that change stuffed into your pocket...

01-20-2005, 07:12 AM

02-10-2005, 10:10 PM
Coins found buried in Miami back yard
MIAMI (AP) _ Feb. 7, 2005 — Nearly 900,000 nickels are still missing after the FBI tracked down a stolen Federal Reserve shipment of coins from New Jersey and dug bags and bags of them out of their burial place behind a horse stable.
Four suspects made their initial court appearances on conspiracy charges Monday as federal agents claimed the driver of the stolen money truck was in on the theft and flew to Mexico the day he was due to deliver the 45,000 pounds of cold cash in New Orleans.
The arrests were made Friday after a Miami-Dade police drug detective received a tip about marijuana being grown at the house and buried coins. Crews uncovered 676 bags of nickels worth $135,200, which leaves $44,800 of the original load unaccounted for.

Truck driver Ricardo Mendoza and homeowner Diosdado Cabrera are missing, but Cabrera's stepson Javier Gonzalez, stable tenant Jose Portales, Juan Brito and his son Yoan Brito Vargas were taken into custody.

All four said they did not have the money to hire attorneys. Gonzalez and Vargas were released on a signature bond, while Portales was held on $100,000 bail and Brito on $50,000 bail.

An affidavit filed by FBI agent Amanda Moran indicated there was some planning to cover up the theft, but not enough to keep the nickels under wraps.

The truck driven by Mendoza left East Rutherford, N.J., with 3.8 million nickels but didn't arrive in New Orleans as scheduled Dec. 20. It was found empty the next day at a truck stop in Fort Pierce, Fla.

The FBI alerted a company that puts coin machines in supermarkets to watch for large nickel deposits, and a Winn-Dixie store in Miami reported Brito to police Jan. 15. He told officers that he had been saving nickels for nearly a year.

It looks like the investigation went nowhere until the tip about the marijuana and the coins. Portales led officers to 88 plants and the cash burial site. Portales and Gonzales gave incriminating statements to investigators.

The group "decided to bury the nickels to avoid being caught" after Brito's chat with police, Moran wrote. Mendoza wanted the suspects to wire the money to him after the nickels were exchanged for cash, Cabrera was to pay the Britos for cashing in the nickels, and the coin bags were burned to cover up their source.

Gonzalez admitted cashing in $4,000 worth of coins, but the dig failed to uncover 896,000 nickels.

02-10-2005, 10:30 PM
Not too smart.. :chuckle:

02-11-2005, 04:03 AM
lol, You'd have to hit up like 20 different coinstars a day.

02-11-2005, 07:13 AM
lol, You'd have to hit up like 20 different coinstars a day.

Not in Vegas, but that would be too many buckets of nickels to cash in.

02-11-2005, 10:42 PM
For some reason I'm not surprised that they never thought of going to vegas..

02-12-2005, 03:12 AM
For some reason I'm not surprised that they never thought of going to vegas..
Maybe they could not figure out how to get 3.8 million nickels into their carry-on luggage?

02-14-2005, 06:59 PM
lol, prob. not.