The Columbus Dispatch published an article July 18, 2015 with some more details on how fugitive treasure hunter Tommy Thompson was finally located. The finder of the S.S. Central America treasure disappeared in late 2012 after a federal judge in Columbus ordered him and his friend and assistant Alison Antekeier to appear in court.
The manager of the quaint Florida motel knew her longtime resident as Susan Owens, a traveling nurse who appeared to have plenty of money and a friendly word for everyone.
“She was Susan Owens in my eyes, and she talked to me every day that she was around,” Virginia Smith, manager of the Pennwood Motor Lodge, said last week. “Her and I became friends.”
But, Smith learned last year, the dark-haired nurse wasn’t a nurse, and she wasn’t Susan Owens.
She was Alison Antekeier. U.S. marshals had been searching for her since shortly after she’d moved to the lodge in August 2012, the same month that she and boyfriend Tommy Thompson had gone on the lam.
Thompson and Antekeier disappeared in late 2012 from a $3,300-a-month Vero Beach, Fla., mansion after a federal judge in Columbus ordered them to appear to answer questions about missing gold.
Antekeier’s residency at the motor lodge in Sebastian in southern Florida came to light in federal search warrants unsealed in late June. They offer tantalizing details about the 2 1/2 years that Thompson and Antekeier spent in hiding and how they were caught in a Hilton hotel in Florida in January.
Smith said that Antekeier first rented a room at the lodge, then, beginning in December 2012, a three-bedroom house on the property.
“She said she didn’t have enough room in Room 21,” Smith said. “She said she liked privacy, and I told her she’d have all the privacy she wanted in the house, which is back in the woods.”
Smith said Antekeier refused to have lodge workers clean the house, saying she preferred to clean it herself. So it wasn’t until June 2014 that a lodge employee went into the home, to retrieve mattresses stored there, and learned Susan Owens’ secret.
Maintenance man Walter Lomas found registration papers for the Mercury Marquis with Antekeier’s name on them. Suspicious, he did a computer search of the name — and learned she was a fugitive. Online photos showed that Antekeier and Owens were the same person.
Smith, ironically, was in Ohio on vacation when Lomas called her with the news.
“I told him, ‘Walter, you have to call the police. It’s our duty to turn her in no matter how much we like Susan,’ ” Smith recalled.
The stash included 35 cellphones, five laptops, more than 1,000 microcassette tapes, more than 500 different medications concealed in cases of soft drinks, bank statements, a coin-shipping container and thousands of court documents.
Smith said that included more than 20 locked suitcases tied together and stashed in a closet.
Search-warrant paperwork says Antekeier rented the house at Pennwood using a fake Florida ID in the name of Susan Owens. The motor lodge, on Rt. 1 along Florida’s east coast, is 3 miles from the beach.
The only numismatic connection here is the mention of the "coin-shipping container". As noted in earlier articles, all S.S. Central America
gold is accounted for. The "missing gold" in the article refers to 500 commemorative re-strikes of the historical 1855 Kellogg &Co. $50 gold pieces made by the Gallery Mint using Kellogg &Humbert ingots recovered from the ship.
To read the complete article, see:
Records from court tell of Thompson and Antekeier's life on the run
Wayne Homren, Editor
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