BUCKHANNON – Two north-central West Virginia residents were arrested on Labor Day for allegedly stealing several rare coins and collectibles from Buckhannon Antique Mall over the course of more than a week in mid-August.
Alexis Quattro, 19, of Ireland W.Va., and Zachariah Helmick, 23, address unknown, were each arrested Monday, Sept. 7, on two counts of grand larceny and two counts of conspiracy, both felonies. However, Helmick’s charges were filed in Harrison County.
According to criminal complaints in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Deputy Joseph Barcus with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, Quattro and Helmick allegedly removed valuable currency and then subsequently sold it to two Harrison County pawn shops over the course of about a week-and-a-half in mid-August.
The file says that on Wednesday Aug. 12, approximately at about 3 p.m., Quattro and Helmick entered the Buckhannon Antique Mall, located on the Clarksburg Road in Upshur County. While inside the business, Quattro allegedly attempted to sell several items from a recently deceased relative’s estate, while Helmick walked into the north side of the store near several glass enclosures with valuable coins inside.
Several hours later at about 6 p.m., business owner noticed that approximately 20 Morgan Silver Dollars and two Peace Dollars were missing. The value of the collectibles totaled approximately $1,100.
The next day, on Aug. 13, Quattro and Helmick returned to the Buckhannon Antique Mall. Quattro again attempted to sell more items from the deceased relative’s estate while Helmick reportedly made his way to the section of the business where the coins were present.
While Helmick was around the glass coin enclosure, a business clerk stated she heard a “loud snap,” Barcus wrote in the complaint. Upon investigating the noise, Helmick allegedly told the clerk that he was trying to look inside a chest. Several hours later, employees noticed a $500 bill that had been appraised at $1,000 was missing. In addition to the $500 bill, several gold coins were taken from the place of business. The value of the gold coins stolen was approximately $725.
Barcus responded to the Buckhannon Antique Mall and successfully lifted one fingerprint from a glass covering where the coins were enclosed.
Then, four days later on Aug. 17, Helmick and Quattro returned to Buckhannon Antique Mall, and Helmick allegedly tried to open the coin enclosure utilizing a key.
“It was at this time store employees recognized Helmick,” the complaint states. Staff members identified the suspects and photographed their vehicle, a tan Mercury Grand Marquis. Police were able to ascertain that the owner of the vehicle lived at a residence on the Wildcat Road in Ireland, W.Va.
They also determined Quattro’s address matched that of the vehicle owner’s.
On Aug. 19, a search warrant for the Ireland residence was obtained through Lewis County Magistrate Court. However, on the same day at around 7 p.m., Barcus spotted the tan Mercury Grand Marquis driving north Route 20 while he was on patrol near the Question Mark Bar in French Creek.
According to the report, as the vehicle passed, Barcus could plainly see the Quattro was the driver and Helmick was the passenger. As Barcus got behind the vehicle, it allegedly began crossing the center line and eventually began driving down the middle of the road. Barcus continued to follow the vehicle and saw that upon starting down a small hill and around a left-hand curve, the vehicle reportedly nearly struck the guard rail on the right side of the road, the complaint says.
At that time, Barcus conducted a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle, and upon approaching the driver, Barcus identified Quattro and Helmick.
Barcus interviewed Helmick, who “immediately stuttering and shaking and continued to look away from [Barcus].”
Shortly after, Lt. Marshall Powers and Sgt. Dewaine Linger with the sheriff’s department arrived on scene, and after speaking with the other units, Barcus gave them the search warrant to serve at the residence on Wildcat Road in Lewis County. Barcus asked Quattro and Helmick to come back to the Sheriff’s office to conduct a thorough interview, and the two agreed. Upon arriving at the station, he advised both of them they were both suspects in two grand larceny charges. After approximately five minutes, Helmick allegedly confessed.
He allegedly told police he’d sold the Morgan Silver Dollar to Cashland Pawn in Clarksburg on Aug. 12 and had subsequently sold the $500 bill and the 1861 Gold Liberty Coin to the same business, according to the file. Helmick said he sold the two gold coins, the 1861 Quarter Eagle 2.5 Gold Liberty and the 1851 2 ½ Gold Dollar to another pawn shop, Gold Rush in Bridgeport.
After the search warrant, police allegedly found one 1898 silver dollar in Quattro’s bedroom inside a jewelry box on her dresser. The silver dollar was seized; however, it did not match any of the coins the victim wrote down on a list. Both parties were released after the interview.
On Aug. 20, Barcus went to Cashland Pawn and spoke with the owner, who confirmed Helmick sold one gold coin, 29 silver dollars and the $500 bill to the business, the complaint states. The business owner said due to how common Morgan Silver Dollars were, he didn’t think it was odd or suspicious that Helmick was selling them and the silver dollars had been sold to multiple other individuals.
After obtaining the gold coin and the $500 bill from Cashland Pawn, Barcus went to Gold Rush and contacted a business clerk. The worker located a receipt where Helmick sold the 1861 Quarter Eagle and 1851 2 ½ Gold Dollar for $370.
Barcus returned to Upshur County and returned the three gold coins and $500 bill to their owner. As a result of the full investigation, Quattro was charged with two counts of grand larceny and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony in Upshur County. Helmick was charged with two counts of grand larceny and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.
As of Friday, Quattro and Helmick were each being held on $25,000 bail in the North Central Regional Jail.
The penalty for a conviction of grand larceny is confinement for not less than one and not more than 10 years, or not more than one year and a fine of not more than $2,500. The penalty for a conviction of conspiracy is confinement for not less than one and not more than five years or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both in the discretion of the court.