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Sophisticated vandals attack Carrabelle coin store

David Adlerstein
The Apalachicola Times

Carrabelle area coin dealer Bill Snyder has long been planning to move his Martin’s House of Coins over the bridge and into Carrabelle.

He has invested time and considerable money into rejuvenating the dilapidated junior food store at 1102 US 98, just across from the Moorings.

In fact, last week his crew had finished a new paint job, and the placing of electronic shutters over the windows and doors, for security.

An eight-foot wide cement pad, stretching 60 feet, was being completed, as was a porcelain patio.

“I’m building a first class place,” he said. “The grand opening was to be in October 2020."

But then he got a call from his work crew first thing Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The place had been vandalized pretty bad.

“He was wiring a new camera system and he had drilled through the outside, but they hadn’t been completed,” said Snyder. “I think whoever did it knew that it was now or never. They knew the next day there would be cameras.”

The cameras have now been installed but the damage has been done and it was extensive.

Snyder said the vandals used some sort of liquid, a rubberized plastic, not a paint, that is a type of epoxy that has to be mixed with a catalyst for it to work properly.

“It wasn’t mixed good, and half didn’t harden,” he said. “The half is almost impossible to remove.

“It’s gummed up the shutters, they won’t work and it all has to be replaced,” he said.

Snyder has reported it to Carrabelle police, who are in charge of the investigation, with help from the sheriff’s office.

Snyder said he suspects the vandalism may be a longstanding remnant of his activism about 15 years ago, when he took a firm stance in support of the dissolution of the Lanark Water and Sewer District, and was frequently harassed about it.

He said one of the building’s neighbors heard kids that night laughing and carrying on, but Snyder doubts that it was a youthful prank. Particularly because kids would likely be quiet and sneaky about it, and would be less likely to use a sophisticated epoxy-type liquid.

“This stuff is very expensive stuff,” he said. “It was almost professionally done. They used the best stuff to do the worst damage.”

Snyder said the building inspector is working to identify exactly what was used. “They’ve never seen such a good product,” he said. “They don’t know what it was but they’re amazed by it. (They’ll) figure out who sells it and narrow it down.

“They made three throws and each time it was designed to ruin those shutters, and it got on ceiling walls and floors,” he said.

The liquid used has destroyed the shutters.

Snyder said he has received lots of compliments on his renovation project. “It was the worst eyesore in Carrabelle,” he said. “It was going to be a work of art.”

In fact, Snyder had just completed putting decorate rocks in front, and had arranged with a well-known building artist out of Atlanta to put in a decorative mural.

“I’m very happy that wasn’t already done,” he said. “It is not going to be an amateur job.”

Snyder said the incident happened sometime after midnight on Aug. 4, likely in the early morning hours. “A lot was already hardened, we knew it was a couple three hours afterwards,” he said.

To catch the culprits, Snyder is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

“I’m going to be happy if I get to spend that money,” he said.

A look at the damage done to the future home of Martin's House of Coins