CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- A retired Army veteran and former police officer spent a majority of his life building up his prized coin collection valued at more than $100,000. Earlier this week, someone stole nearly the entire collection.
"I'm still shocked," said Keith Sanger.
Sanger is now left to cleaning the remnants and repairing damage intruders left behind in his Cedar Rapids home.
"They cut the screen to try and get in and realized the window was locked so they went to the back door," he added.
Sanger says they broke in with a crowbar sometime between 7:30 a.m. Sunday and 4:30 p.m. Monday, while he was out of town for his uncle's funeral.
"I noticed there were coin boxes and stuff sprawled out throughout the entire floor," he said.
The thieves stole 99% of the collection he'd built for 45 years, worth about $130,000.
"It was coins and then some miscellaneous bags to transport everything," he said. "The coins they left are probably worth not more than face value."
However, Sanger says it's not just monetary value that the coins have. They represented a connection with his youngest daughter
"She helped with it so, coincidentally, I named my coin collection Dad and Daughter Collection," he said.
Cedar Rapids Police say they are investigating this and have collected evidence including potential fingerprints of a suspect or suspects. They're now looking to get surveillance video from neighbors.
As a former police officer, Sanger says he's also prepared to help.
"I've given them very descriptive information. I gave them serial numbers [and] the digital footprint of the coin," said Sanger.
He says the collection is registered with the Professional Coin Grading Service and has anti-theft protection, which he's hoping will help
"If it's out there and somebody tries to act on it, sell it, trade it [or] whatever, it's going to get picked up," he said. "It's hard to imagine being the victim of a crime until it happens to you. My advice is to protect your valuables and do what you can to secure your house."
Anyone with information should call Cedar Rapids Police at 319-286-5491 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CS-CRIME. The family is also offering a $2,500 reward.