Lynden police recover coins of $250,000 value; 33-year-old man arrested

WHATCOM ­— A man returned home to the 8600 block of Depot Road in Lynden on Aug. 12 after about 24 hours away and found that his home safe had been drilled into and valuable old American gold coins taken from inside. Also, a shotgun in the house was missing.

The owner reported the residential burglary to Lynden Police for investigation.

By the next day, investigators identified a 1915 gold coin in a capsule that had been pawned Aug. 12 with a Bellingham silver and gold buyer — and the source of the coin said he had more coins to sell, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed by the Lynden Police Department with Whatcom County Superior Court. 

Bellingham officers, in cooperation with Lynden police, awaited the pawner’s return to the shop, where they took into custody Vasilios Macris, 33, of Lynden, as a suspect in the residential burglary and theft of a day earlier.

Macris made his first appearance in court Aug. 14 before commissioner Alfred Heyrich, and bail was set at $10,000 on four preliminary charges:  first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, theft of a firearm, and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Formal arraignment is set for 9 a.m. this Friday, Aug. 23.

In a press release, Lynden Police say they also obtained a search warrant on a vehicle driven by Macris and the mobile home he was living in, and from those searches 115 gold coins and the stolen Lynden firearm were recovered. Suspected drug paraphernalia and tools associated with burglary were also discovered, they say.

The total value of the recovered gold coins is estimated at about $250,000, according to Lynden police.

Court papers say Macris said he had bought the six additional coins he was bringing in from another man for $100 each.

On his personal promise to appear in court this week, Macris was released Aug. 14 to stay at a designated rural county address.

It is believed access into the house was gained through an unlocked window, said police Lt. Jeremy Bos.