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Police: Victim solved theft case, delivered suspect to station

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • Southwestern Regional Police said only some of the gold and silver has been recovered at this point.

After realizing someone stole $30,000 to $40,000 worth of gold and silver from his house, a North Codorus Township man set about to solve the crime himself, according to police.

James Shaw, who lives near Hickory Heights Golf Course, figured out that his acquaintance, David Lee Smiley, had stolen the precious metals during a number of visits over a period of months, according to charging documents filed by Southwestern Regional Police.

Gold and silver coins and ingots

Shaw confronted Smiley, who admitted to stealing the gold and silver coins, according to police.

Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean said it's unusual for citizens to take criminal investigations into their own hands.

"He was obviously motivated to solve his own crime, and he did a great job," Bean said of Shaw.

Delivered to doorstep: Shaw then delivered Smiley to Southwestern Regional's station on Tuesday, Oct. 3, where Smiley confessed, according to charging documents.

Southwestern Regional officers did their own investigation then filed charges of burglary, theft and receiving stolen property against Smiley, police said.

Smiley, 21, of 10 S. Main St., Apt. 7, in Spring Grove, remains free on $25,000 bail, according to court records.

He told police he'd been stealing the coins since mid-September and pawned them at different coin and pawn shops for a total of about $25,000, charging documents allege.

David Lee Smiley

Coins still missing: Some of the gold and silver has been recovered, but most has not, police said.

Police said they did seize a large amount of property that Smiley bought with the money he was paid for the stolen precious metals.

The "coins" aren't U.S. currency, but rather the type of gold and silver coins people buy as an investment in precious metals, Bean told The York Dispatch.

Shaw told offiers Smiley had been doing work on the property.

Smiley doesn't have an attorney listed in court documents and couldn't be reached for comment on Thursday, Oct. 5.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.