Burglary Wipes Out Corinth Coin Shop, Owner's Lifelong Collection

A burglar broke into GSA Coins and Jewelry around 7 a.m. on April 7

At GSA Coins and Jewelry in Corinth, Texas the open sign is on, though the cases now sit empty. Owner Chris Lyche said he's unsure how much longer he can keep the doors open, two weeks after a burglar took the collection he's worked on since he was 11 years old.

Now 21, Lyche said he opened the doors in November to turn his longtime hobby into a business.

"Not a lot of people can take something they're passionate about and be able to live on it," Lyche said.

But on April 7 around 7 a.m., a masked man broke into the store, threatening to take it all away.

Security cameras captured the man break through the front door with a crow bar, before he made a beeline to the locked back office. Once he broke through it, Lyche said he seemed to know exactly what he wanted to grab.

"He's just piling up all the best stuff, stacking it," Lyche said.

As he does, the suspect can be heard asking, "Where? Here?" before he eventually made his way to the exact cabinet that held Lyche's newest acquisition.

"It was the biggest collection I'd ever been a part of buying. It was about $50,000. It was full sets of everything from half cents to silver dollars," Lyche said.

The suspect managed to make off with both it and another $25,000 in coins and jewelry, slipping back out through the shattered glass to a late model white Dodge pickup with its license plate removed.

It all happened in about four minutes.

The least valuable collections were all that remained.

"It means either someone I've known for a long time has done it, or the person I entrusted to keep my stuff safe decided to take advantage of it," Lyche said.

Just seven hours earlier, Lyche said, the first step in installing a security system had been completed. A couple more weeks and a little more equipment, and he believes the burglary could've been prevented.

"I knew how vulnerable it was. There probably was not another day that we've been opened that was a better time to hit for a thief. As soon as I got here and saw all of the groups I'd set aside as being really valuable gone and I saw my cabinet where I kept my stuff empty, it hit me that it was going to be a big hit," Lyche said.

Though he's hopeful his coins will be returned, Lyche said he knows it's unlikely.

"I'm worried that this was such a professional job that these items are just going to be melted down and gone forever," Lyche said.

And though he's got a lot of life ahead of him, he's crushed looking at all of his empty cases.

"I think they're a monster. There's not really anything worse than a thief," Lyche said. "There's so many ways they could've gone about their life as opposed of wiping out years of work from someone like me."

For now, he's hoping he can rely on consignment to keep his doors open.

Corinth Police are investigating.

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