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CRIME Assault suspects' van held rifle, antique coins



Published: Thu, August 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The rare coins have a value of about $1,000.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Pennsylvania State Police discovered a loaded rifle and a collection of antique coins -- both of which might have been stolen -- while searching a van owned by a couple who allegedly assaulted police officers July 21.

State police served a search warrant Monday on a van owned by Charles Burke, 57, and his common-law wife, 44-year-old Ruth Ann Betlyn.

They found the high-powered assault rifle, which they believe Burke attempted to retrieve before his arrest, and a collection of antique and rare coins with a face value of $1,000, according to reports.

The coins, which mostly were from the turn of the century, appear to have a much higher value and might have been stolen, the report shows.

Police suspect but have not verified that the rifle was stolen.

Investigators are working with authorities in Allegheny County to determine the owners of the rifle and the coins. Anyone with information concerning the rifle or the coins should contact the State Police at (724) 598-2211.

The arrest

Police have said Burke and Betlyn, who have an address listed for Carnegie, Pa., were homeless and living with their children in deplorable conditions off state Route 351.

The couple were arrested July 21 after they allegedly assaulted officers who were attempting to take their three children to Lawrence County Children Services.

During the situation, Burke allegedly tried to shoot officers, and his wife attempted to hit officers with a large piece of metal.

Burke and Betlyn face numerous charges, including aggravated assault against a police officer, recklessly endangering and simple assault.




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