ALBURGH, Vt. – It took months for anyone to discover that an eccentric man known simply as Radkin had died, crushed under a tractor-pulled horse trailer on his property on the shores of Lake Champlain in northern Vermont. But it didnt take long for looters to ransack the hoarders dilapidated house, police say, hauling off antiques, a vehicle, scrap metal and more than $200,000 in gold coins.
Four people, including at least one who police suspect knew the 66-year-old Radkin, are facing charges of stealing the coins and cashing them in at coin and jewelry stores. Police expect to make more arrests.
Police said Thursday the defendants sold coins ranging in value from $350 to $1,800 to coin and jewelry dealers in another county after allegedly claiming theyd inherited the coins.
But the number of coins coming in was a red flag for one dealer, who called police in September.
John Fleury of Enosburgh, who has a camp across Route 2 from Radkins property in Alburgh, said he had watching the looters come and go. He said no one called the police because no one was concerned.
A friend of Radkin wasnt surprised he had the coins.
He had at least 20 or 30 vehicles; some of them would run, most of them didnt, said Van Powell, mechanical shop manager for the Shelburne Shipyard, where Radkin once worked and adjacent to where he used to live.
He had at one point six or seven pianos and he just kept them in the front yard of his house covered with canvasses, and I just thought that was odd because he was quite a good musician.Neighbors had feuded with him in Alburgh, where he had been known to run around his property naked, Fluery said.
Radkin was very, very rude, he said.
Born Richard A. Burgess in Greenfield, Mass., he later changed his name to just Radkin, and eventually lived as a caretaker on property on Shelburne Point. He liked to go to auctions and flea markets and lived off the grid.
He was an unusual fellow, thats for sure, Powell said.
Last March, when a friend had not heard from or seen Radkin in a while, he called the sheriffs department. His body was found crushed under the trailer in an accident that officials believe happened in December 2011.