This story was selected as the No. 5 news story of the year because of the impact it had on multiple area businesses and several private parties. The Treasure Hunters staff had been in Spencer before, but due to circumstances beyond their control at the administrative level, the visit was cut short and the promised payoff did not come through as promised for some. Law enforcement worked to assist those impacted to recover money as it became available.
An investigation is underway by the Spencer Police Department following the report of multiple insufficient funds checks allegedly issued by an out-of-state cash-for-gold company.
Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson released information Monday, regarding complaints the department has received about checks, reportedly written by representatives of The Treasure Hunters Roadshow, which have been returned with an insufficient funds designation.
"We're going to investigate it as a fraud and an ongoing criminal conduct," Lawson said. "We're going to collect all of the evidence that we can and turn it over to our county attorney.
"Other state agencies are looking into it also."
The collectables trading group, operating out of Springfield, Ill., conducted business at the Clay County Regional Events Center on July 10 and 11, before leaving unexpectedly on July 12.
"They pretty much just picked up and bailed out," Scott Hallgren, general manager of the events center, said, adding he had "no idea" why they left early.
He did acknowledge the events center is engaged in accounting issues with the company.
The checks that have been returned were in exchange for jewelry, coins and other collectables allegedly purchased during the two-day visit.
Treasure Hunters Roadshow claims to represent thousands of collectors around the world, traveling across the United States, Canada and Europe, searching for antiques and collectibles for its clients.
This is not the first time the group had stopped in Spencer.
"We hadn't had any problem them with them previously," Hallgren said, noting they had been in town several times before. "Every time they had always been straight with us."
Hallgren said the events center had always required 100 percent payment up front; but he would receive calls from potential sellers asking about the Treasure Hunters Roadshow.
"When the customers would call, I would always tell them buyer beware. If it sounds to good to be true ...," Hallgren said.