Forres, Scotland – Thieves broke into a home and stole more than £10,000 in loose change kept in several bottles. £10,000 equates to about $15,800 in US dollars. Grampian Police indicate the crime was “highly unusual” as the thieves only took the bottles of change. The inordinately large sum of change belonged to John Benzie, 64, who amassed the coins into gallon bottles over 20 years. Thieves broke into his home Friday and made off with the entire collection.
Benzie’s sister, Marlene Ross, commented on her brother and the peculiar theft:
“He is a bit of a hoarder and had collected the money over a period of around 15 to 20 years. I can’t even begin to guess how many bottles there were full of coins but there would have been thousands of pounds’ worth anyway. There were dozens of bottles and most of them were full. Any loose change he had would go in them. If he went to the shop for a paper or some bread and break a note he would put whatever was left over in the bottles.”
The Telegraph reports the results of a Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) survey where figures released last year showed more than £5.6 billion in cash is stashed away in the UK’s homes, largely unprotected. One in 10 people said they believed their money was safer tucked under mattresses and in jam jars than in a bank. The FSCS warns even the best of insurance policies only cover people for up to around £1,000 in stolen cash.
Authorities investigating the theft urged banks and businesses in the Forres area to look out for people trying to cash in the coins. The police are checking into any nearby surveillance footage and following witness leads.
As for those of us in the states, Apartment Therapy recommends a few good reasons to keep a change jar. First, for people who are terrible at saving money, a change jar is an excellent way to start. The habit of dropping spare change into a jar or bowl over time can accumulate significantly. If you are trying to save up for a trip or vacation or an unexpected emergency fund, a spare change jar helps. Consider rolling or running your change through a sorting machine and deposit the funds in lieu of keeping them in your home long term. Banks are considered far safer than keeping large sums of money at home and offer protection on lost or stolen funds.