Elderly Man Beaten To Death While Trying To Sell Comics Collection

A 77-year-old man decided to cash out his comic book collection and peddled it around Upstate New York. Police say thugs who found out he had the collection broke into his home, took the comic books and beat the man, allegedly causing a heart attack that resulted in his death.

The Associated Press reports the collection was valued at between $40,000 and $100,000.

The story exemplifies just how dangerous it can be to try to hock valuables. What precautions do you take when you have something expensive to sell?

NY police: 77-year-old is beaten for comics, dies [AP via Syracuse.com]
(Thanks, Ronald!)


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  1. CBenji says:

    Oh God the poor man. How sad.

  2. longdvsn says:

    Advice: Use common sense!!! Don’t give out your home address. Meet only in public places with other people around. It’s that simple!
    The email address you use to try to sell from shouldn’t give personal information (like your whole name).

    I’ve sold a bunch of stuff on craigslist…almost always meeting in the Walgreen’s parking lot a few blocks from my place.

    • Gramin says:

      Agreed and likewise. When I order hookers off Craigslist, I always tell them to meet me behind the Walgreen’s on the corner. I don’t need one of those crackheads having my address.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I use Google Voice. There’s an option with Google Voice to send a person’s phone call straight to your phone without having them identify themselves. The automated message that prompts people to identify themselves identifies the service as Google Voice, so I took that off. People who call the Google Voice number don’t have to identify themselves anymore, but the tradeoff is that they don’t know they’re not calling my personal phone number.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        THIS. I started using Google Voice when I had to sell a car two years ago, and it’s STILL getting the occasional “auto-loan” spam…but they go right to voice mail, and then I block the number. I love the fact that you can have it play the “out of service” tri-tone and message for specific numbers. I finally set up my personal contacts so that they ring through to all my numbers, and so I may start using it for personal calls, too.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      If people are secretive, want to meet in isolated locations, cash only… I don’t deal with them as either a buyer or a seller. You either get stolen goods or get mugged. Not everything has to be a drug deal style meeting. But then again, I don’t live in Oakland.

    • sumocat says:

      Good advice, but there’s no indication it would have helped in this case. It’s possible the thugs followed the man home after meeting with the prospective buyer and main suspect.

    • splendic says:

      Good luck hauling $100,000 comic collection out in public.

    • sopmodm14 says:

      he was a senior citizen and may not have been up-to-date with online security precautions…

      heck, ANYONE who has posted on facebook still put their info out

  3. ToKeN2k6 says:

    see I worry about this with my movies and video game collection..but then when I think how it took 12 good sized U-Haul boxes and over 6 plastic storage units for consoles, accessories, controllers and other junk..I just say to myself, anyone who would break into my home to steal this stuff wouldn’t be able to get that much before the cops came by..

  4. jennix says:

    suck factor = ∞

  5. dolemite says:

    That’s one problem I have with Craigslist. One reason people don’t rob other people is they never know if they will get $1 or $100 out of it. When you post your PS3 on Craigslist, they know what you have, where you are, the time you will meet, etc.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      That’s why you meet in a public place, like in front of a police station.

      • aloria says:

        How do you sell furniture in front of a police station?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I try really hard to avoid having to sell furniture that’s so big people have to come inside. We’ve only done it once, and it turned out just fine, but it’s always a risk you have to deal with because there’s no better method.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            I sold my kitchen table out of my garage. I put it in the front so the people had to wait outside while I went around in it and opened the door. That way, also, it was easy for them to get it out and they could back their vehicle right up to it. Cash only, I got the price I asked for (a picture helped) and they were on their way. Nice people, too.

            I think you take risks with garage sales too. But I never let anyone in the house during those. If they need the potty, they can go up to the gas station on the corner.

    • JohnDeere says:

      i always meet at the gas station down the road, and dont go directly home afterwards, maybe a little shopping or something.

    • econobiker says:

      “they know what you have, where you are, the time you will meet, etc”

      For big money exchanges (more than $100) I meet in public places equipped with video survelance such as grocery stores. I did a motorcycle sales transaction in FedexOffice/Kinkos.

      (But in many states they don’t know if you have a concealed weapons permit. NY is the most anti-self defense state in the country.)

  6. rpm773 says:

    It’s a good thing simple market economics have saved me from ever having to face the danger of getting mugged while trying to hawk my 1986- 1989 baseball card collection

  7. Three Word Chant says:

    Completely senseless, especially at that age. One can’t help but wonder what would have happened If someone heroic was around to save him, say, someone super at fighting crime.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Really? “Beaten To Death”?

    From the article: Thieves broke into his home around 4 a.m. July 5 and hit him in the face. He was treated at a hospital, returned home that afternoon and was interviewed by police, and died of the heart attack after officers left, the police chief said. He had a heart condition, authorities said.

    He got treated, went home, talked to police, and then had a heart attack. What part of that implies he was beaten to death?

    This is outrageous.

    • pop top says:

      Just look who wrote the article.

    • Daverson says:

      Just another Phail Villarreal headline.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Cause: robbers beat the man.
      Effect: man died.

      The man would not have died from a heart attack if the robbers had not beat him. In spite of the fact, the man didn’t instantly die, the act of beating him (or even simply attacking him) resulted in his death. You could argue the two incidents were circumstantial, however, if I were on the jury, I would correlate the two incidents as being cause and effect.

      • pop top says:

        “the act of beating him (or even simply attacking him) resulted in his death.”

        That’s incredibly hard to prove, especially since the guy already had a heart condition. There’s probably a reason they aren’t being charged with murder.

        • psm321 says:

          There’s some legal principle (I forget what) that says that even if an attacker didn’t know of an aggravating condition, they can still be charged with murder if their attack triggers it. IANAL, I just read about it a while ago

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Yes, and the stress associated with the incident, talking to the police, etc. could have precipitated the heart attack.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        But “beaten to death” really does imply they beat him until he died. I’m not debating the legal aspect, I’m debating the use of “beaten to death’ and what it usually implies and how people interpret it.

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          So, beaten with a side of death? Rather similar to how I like my eggs.

      • danmac says:

        Correlation =/= Causation

        Unlike you, if I were on a jury, I would conclude – lacking additional medical evidence – that there wasn’t sufficient proof of cause to warrant conviction.

        That means that if we were on the same jury together, we would be hung. Which would be awesome.

    • deathbecomesme says:

      They might still be able to get murder charges or manslaughter. I read once that an old woman died of health complications from a stab wound she received years back. The police went and charged the person that stabbed her(years ago) with murder.

  9. pop top says:

    What a horrible story. I hope that they catch the animals that did this. Elderly abuse in any form makes me insanely angry. Also, is it just me or does the closer in this article seem insensitive? “Elderly man beaten to death, what do you do to keep it from happening to you?!”

  10. agent 47 says:

    I sell on craigslist quite a bit. During every deal, my wife is in the next room, shotgun ready.

  11. HighontheHill says:

    What a shame.

    I buy and sell a whole lot of stuff over the net, never ever give out my address, never direct anyone to my home or even close, always meet off site somewhere and I always carry a primary and backup firearm. Each of us has the responsibility, and Constitutional rights, to protect ourselves; the police should never be your primary source of protection/safety…..

    I hope they catch these scum soon and give ’em what they deserve.

  12. areaman says:

    I’m glad to hear Chief Avila didn’t give up on this case.

    The case broke Thursday night when a woman charged with prostitution in Rochester gave investigators information that led to the arrest, Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone said.

    It sounds like these assholes (Rico Vendetti and Juan Javier) who stole comics paid for a hooker with old comic books.

    For liquidating what I consider illiquid assets… I would try consignment or ebay. It’s too difficult to liquidate $40,000 and $100,000 in comics all in one go.

    For selling something like baseball game tickets (single game), I make the exchange at SBUX down stairs from my work.

  13. Duckula22 says:

    When these idiots get jailed for life, it’ll be comic. It’ll be a Nelson’s “HaHa!” moment.

  14. econobiker says:

    Had the guy never heard of the word “auction” ?

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Yeah, let’s blame the dead guy for being dead.

  15. Lynn12 says:

    I grew up in Medina & I have family that lives 2 blocks from this mans home. It is a very small community and things like this don’t normally happen there. I’m sure it makes people more trusting than they should be.

    With that said, IMO they should be charged with murder. This was a home invasion, they beat an elderly man and then several hours later he died from a heart attack. This is no different than a person dying from a gunshot wound days later, their actions caused this mans death and I hope they get everything that is coming to them.

  16. jim says:

    eh, most likely his collection was worth a couple of thousand dollars. The fact that was “shopping” it around was most likely due to unrealistic expectations of the value of his collection. Look at shows like pawn stars where they value stuff like that.

  17. ElizabethD says:

    Holy heart attack, Batman.

  18. CBenji says:

    Just yesterday I bought and LCD tv on craigslist as we had a thunderstorm two weeks ago that knocked heck out of my plasma and for some reason I had too much stuff plugged into my monster cable. Like a moron I plugged the wii and the other things in it and ran out of room in the monster cable.

    Anyway, I needed to see the LCD tv plugged in and running on HDMI so his house it was. The man had a very strange looking toilet situation going on from what I could see in his living room, and I was thankful I did not have to go. I would have sooner used a gas station in New Jersey somewhere as it was bad, but buying something like that you have to meet. The tv was a good deal, and I saved $200 over buying it at Sam’s club. I also had someone go with me and went in the daytime. Other than his toilet (think stains all over the outside of it) I don’t know what else you can do. You could get killed when you are walking to your car if you aren’t aware of your surroundings as well. Plus the tv is working great, and I am very happy with my purchase. Obviously the guy needed the money.

  19. MurderGirl says:

    My first thought when I saw the headline was “Does Rick Olney have an alibi?”

  20. LucasM says:

    About 4 years ago I was visiting my family for the holidays and as we pulled into the parking lot of the local mall we saw a couple of guys beating on another guy who was laid out on the parking-lot ground. I opened the car window and yelled at them to stop. I was a bit worried cause I had my family with me but we all agreed that we needed to help. After we yelled at them, the kids (I’d say they were late teens, early 20’s) started to walk / jog away to their car and we followed them in our car, while calling the police. They didn’t go far and we wrote down the license plate…

    I bring this up because the guy on the ground later told us that he was selling his motor cycle and when he arrived, the two guys who were beating on him had yanked him off of it while a third guy jumped on and took off on it. The beating was so they could all get away.

    This was in another state but the DA sent me mail asking if I’d testify and I enthusiastically said yes each time. It never went to trial but the kids were all caught and put in jail.

    — & —

    In a case of reversed web justice I had a friend who’s boyfriend at the time had his motorcycle stolen. It was unique enough that he decided to scour the internet for anyone selling parts to one like his and he ended up finding the thieves and taking it back… Craigslist is just a tool… wield it wisely. ;)

  21. Sian says:

    What they don’t report is that the guy was actually the first Night Owl back in the 1950’s.

  22. buzz86us says:

    This guy is a moron he goes to sell his collection to people at collectible stores (who will rip him off) There’s a convention held right at the Holiday Inn on wolf road a few times a year where he could have either rented a dealer space and sold his comics outright at a price he thought was fair or got in contact with the right buyers. I personally saw some dealers selling golden age comics in mylites. Has he not heard of them sell it on ebay stores that are peppered all over the area?

    • buzz86us says:

      but that said I feel sorry that he had to die over something like comic books I am a collector, but why someone would rob a guy over some old comic books is beyond me. I know they are worth a lot of money but this is just sad I hope that his heirs can find the right people to sell their cousin’s/uncle’s coveted comics collection.

  23. zandar says:

    ebay only, usually.

    the few times i’ve used craiglist, yeah, like some others say here, meet ONLY in public places with high foot traffic.