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Mover Caught Trying to Sell Rare Coins, Police Say

January 05, 2002|STUART PFEIFER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Newport Beach police arrested a moving company employee Friday after recovering several rare coins he is suspected of stealing while on a job for a high-profile sports agent.

The coins, from an 1800s shipwreck, were stolen last month from Dwight Manley, whose clients have included NBA stars Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman, Newport Beach Police Sgt. Michael McDermott said.

A coin shop employee alerted Manley when one of the movers tried to sell the coins, saying Manley had given them to him as a gift, McDermott said. Manley then contacted police.

Manley, whose coin collection is valued in the millions of dollars, told police that the coins were part of a cache recovered from the S.S. Central America, which sank in rough seas off the coast of the Carolinas in 1857.

Detectives recovered nine of the coins in a vehicle owned by an employee of the moving company, McDermott said.

The employee, Douglas Bader, 32, was booked into the Newport Beach jail on suspicion of grand theft.

He was released Friday on $10,000 bail.

Manley, who had not realized any of his extensive collection was missing, is checking to see whether other coins were taken, McDermott said. A police investigation is continuing.

When the Central America sank, it was carrying rare coins and gold bars now valued at more than $100 million.

Many of the coins were produced with gold mined in the California Gold Rush. A treasure hunting team recovered the coins in 1987.

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