BEVERLY — An Ipswich man admitted yesterday to fencing stolen antique silver items at a now-closed pawn shop whose owner is facing separate charges.
The pieces were allegedly taken by the man’s friend from a Manchester-by-the-Sea home.
Andrew Mathey, 27, of 36 N. Main St. received a continuation without a finding for a year, over the objection of a prosecutor, on two counts of receiving stolen property. Prosecutors had been seeking a guilty finding.
The 19 items included 19th-century silver serving pieces, bowls, utensils and cups, as well as a calling card holder, all of them from Germany and some engraved with the initials of the owner’s ancestor. They disappeared from a hutch in the home in the fall of 2011.
The Magnolia Avenue woman told Manchester Patrolman Zak Johnson and Detective Richard Newton that she had been having work done in the home and listed several contractors, including Rainbow Painting of Ipswich.
The owner of that business, Andrew Tzortzis, had been working there with his son Chris Tzortzis and another relative in September and October 2011.
Ipswich police Detective Peter Dziadose recognized Chris Tzortzis’ name from a 2008 investigation involving items missing from homes that were being pawned.
Tzortzis, 29, of 50 Mile Lane, Ipswich, is scheduled to stand trial next week on charges that he took the items from the Manchester home.
Beverly police learned that many of the items had been pawned by Mathey at JGM Numismatics and Investments, a now-closed pawnbroker whose owner, George Maroskos, is set to stand trial Feb. 14 on charges that he lied to Beverly police Detective Jeff Liacos about stolen jewelry he was buying and reselling, including a $100,000 7.5-carat diamond ring taken in a burglary.
The Beverly City Council voted last year to revoke JGM’s secondhand dealer’s license.
Police did find records of some of the silver pieces pawned at JGM, but by then it was too late, Sylvanowicz said. The items, with both great sentimental and monetary value, had been melted down.
“This is a defendant who clearly knew that the items he was pawning off were stolen,” prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz said during yesterday’s hearing in Salem District Court.
The owner, a woman in her 60s, “will never see them again,” said the prosecutor.
But Mathey’s lawyer, Chris Beares, alleged that after promising that they would talk to the prosecutor about leniency in order to get his client to confess to the 2011 crimes, Manchester police never did.
“Don’t make him out to be a victim,” warned Judge Michael Lauranzano, who eventually went along with the defense lawyer’s request for the continuation without a finding.
Beares argued that his client, who had no prior record, has been in therapy and works full time as a farrier (someone who puts shoes on horses).
“A felony conviction will ruin his future employment,” Beares said.
In addition to submitting to a drug evaluation and recommended treatment during the next year, Mathey will be required to pay $2,467 in restitution to the woman.
That may be far less than what the pieces were worth, said the prosecutor, who noted that the items had not been appraised since the 1970s.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.