Nevada hoarder stashed $7M in gold in home

LAS VEGAS — Authorities in Carson City recently made an astounding discovery in the home of a local recluse whose body was found in his residence. Walter Samaszko Jr. had left only $200 in his bank account. But hidden throughout the house were other treasures, including gold bars and coins valued at $7 million.

“You never anticipate running into anything like this,” Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover told the Los Angeles Times. “It was a run-of-the-mill 1,200-square-foot tract home that still had orange shag carpet. This guy was everybody’s next-door neighbor.”

Samaszko, 69, was described by officials as a loner who went about his business and had few friends. He had been dead at least a month when neighbors called authorities. The victim, who suffered from heart trouble, had lived in the house since the 1960s, and his mother lived with him until her death in 1992.

Glover, who also serves as the local public administrator, was tasked with dealing with the effects of a man who had left no will and had no known living relatives. But during the home cleanup, workers struck gold.

“He was a hoarder; there was everything inside that home you could think of,” Glover said. “The workers found a crawl space from the garage. That led to everything else.

“He was apparently buying gold from a local coin dealer. We found it in sealed boxes marked ‘books.’ We also found gold wrapped in tinfoil stored in ammunition boxes,” Glover told the Times. “There was just more and more. We found a family silver set with rolls of U.S. $20s and Mexican five peso coins.”

The gold coins had been minted as early as the 1840s in such countries as Mexico, England, Austria and South Africa, he said.

Based on just the weight of the gold, Glover estimates the value at $7 million. Because some of the coins appear to be collector items, the value could go much higher, he said.

Officials eventually used a metal detector to search the backyard to make sure they had left no coin uncovered. Samaszko also had stock accounts of more than $165,000 and another $12,000 in cash at the house.

Then came the task of finding relatives. Investigators used list of people who attended Samaszko’s mother’s funeral to track down a first cousin who lives in San Rafael, Calif.

“This will be good for her,” Glover said. “She’s a substitute school teacher who lives in an apartment.”

He said the deceased remains an enigma. “He didn’t socialize. He wasn’t exactly a hermit; he shopped for groceries and talked with at least one elderly neighbor. In his garage was a 1968 Mustang he bought new.”

“He didn’t belong to anything. He just went his own way, with all that gold.”

—-

&Copy;2012 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Lynnwood man allegedly cuts Marysville’s 911 dispatch wires

The man reportedly told police he intended to trade the wires for drugs.

Most Read