On Christmas Eve, an anonymous caller alerted the museum of the potential conspiracy.
Officials contacted one of the alleged co-conspirators, who had recently visited the museum and researched the value of the coins.
“We put them on notice that we knew about the conspiracy and none of the coins would be stolen,” Lumpkin County Sheriff Mark McClure said. And, “We would be definitely looking to charge individuals if that did occur.”
The man, who is from out of state, denied having any involvement in the plot.
McClure said residential burglaries of coins and coin collections are fairly common in the community, but to steal coins of such value as the ones in the museum is a “rarity.”
“We take these treasures of our county very seriously because they are very valuable,” McClure said. “But they’re also of great historical significance to the citizens of Lumpkin County.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were both contacted. However, no charges were filed by the sheriff’s office since there is no evidence that any part of the conspiracy took place in Georgia.
Information about the conspiracy was also given to the Numismatic Crime Information Center, a database for worldwide investigations related to coin and artifact thefts.
In January 2007 about four million dollars worth of coins, some of which were Dahlonega Mint coins, were stolen from coin dealers in Florida but there is no known link between that theft and the museum conspiracy.