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Police may have break in Krugerrand theft

Grand Coulee man arrested in Oregon as stolen car recovered

 

This black bag was found in the trunk of a stolen vehicle and contained items taken from a burglary of a Grand Coulee house last May when 200 South African gold Krugerrands were taken.

Grand Coulee police may have a break in a case involving the theft of a quarter million dollars worth of South African gold coins May 30, 2014.

A Grand Coulee man, Steven Kiona, 37, was arrested and is in Grant County on a stolen vehicle charge and local police are anxious to talk to him about some 200 Krugerrands and other coins stolen from Dorothy Harris.

Kiona had lived in Harris' basement in Grand Coulee. He did yard work for her and was the one who called her at her work last May to report the theft.

Harris recently had her car and purse stolen in Oregon while she was on vacation and police there later apprehended Kiona, who had the car.

Harris' brother, David Harris, told police that after his sister returned from Oregon she searched Kiona's basement room and found six firearms. She didn't think Kiona could possess firearms because he was a convicted felon and is under Department of Corrections supervision.

Grand Coulee police Chief John Tufts said material found in the trunk of Harris' car after recovery had articles that she identified as part of the missing coin collection.

"We are anxious to talk with Kiona," Tufts said. Kiona was returned to Grant County Thursday to face charges on the auto theft. Police here plan on talking with him about the Krugerrand burglary last May.

Found in the trunk after Harris picked up her car in Oregon were several items she identified as hers, and among the items reported stolen in May.

The items were in a black bag given to Harris by a bounty hunter, the report stated, and which was in Kiona's possession when he was arrested on the stolen vehicle charge.

Harris told Grand Coulee police that all her gold and a lot of her silver were still missing but she was able to identify some of the items as hers.

Found in the bag were loose coins, coins encased in baggies, a 1924 gold coin, an 18K ring, a necklace and Kiona's wallet with an identification card and debit cards. Items inside also included a business card from a "buy and sell" jewelry store in Portland, Oregon, with items listed on the back as "sold," including two gold coins and a Krugerrand, a Perthman Australian bar, and a 10-ounce silver bar.

The six firearms, one having a possible hit for being stolen, were also being held as evidence.

A Krugerrand, a 1-ounce South African gold piece, was valued at $1,235 as of March 25.

Harris had told police at the time of the burglary last May that she had accumulated the gold pieces while serving in the military in South Africa. The 200 Krugerrands taken in the burglary at the time were valued at $261,000.

Kiona had called her last May after he said he discovered that someone had gone through some of the drawers in the house. She came home from work and later told police that the gold coins had been stored in a cardboard box, and she gave police a list of several missing items, some of which were found in the black bag.

Harris said Monday that she was hopeful that the discovery of the objects in the black bag would eventually lead to the recovery of her Krugerrands.

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