SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Decades of memories line the hallway of 93-year-old Harry Blanton’s home. Some of his most cherished possessions are his pre-World War I-era coin collection with coins dating back to the late 1800s.
Those memories were robbed last week when a thief broke into his home in the middle of the night. They stole a collection of his coins and two wallets with hundreds of dollars and pictures of wife Pearl, who died last year.
“After they broke in, I didn’t know it until the next morning. It was all gone,” said Blanton.
The culprit first tried to break into a side door, then smashed a window and ripped a screen door in the backyard to get inside. They also stole a stack of rare $2 bills.
“They were right in the bedroom where I was at,” he explained. “It wrecks your privacy.”
The army vet slept through it all while the thief was rummaging through his bedroom. Blanton said the thief cut off all the power to his house during the break-in.
“They didn’t hurt me; they could’ve you know. I’m here all alone, all the time,” he said.
His neighbor Anthony Luce does not go a day without checking on Blanton. Luce said the break-in shook Blanton for a couple of days.
“It definitely affected him. For the first few days after the break-in, he was very quiet. He didn’t want to talk to too many people. He was holding his head down,” Luce explained.
The neighbors bonded over their love of collecting coins. Luce estimates that the stolen coins are worth thousands of dollars.
“He is important to me because he is like family to me. I see him as that grandpa,” he said.
Luce is leading a neighborhood effort in raising money to pay for what was stolen and upgrade security around the house. Neighbors have raised $600 so far through a GoFundMe. They plan to replace the locks on his home as well as add a camera security system.
“Something like that does more than restores faith in humanity for me, it shows that we have people who care and are willing to help other people who need it,” said Luce.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department is still searching for the person responsible. They do not have any information on a possible suspect at this time.