Combined Deseret News, AP Charles Thurman Sinclair, charged with the shooting of a Murray coin shop owner last May and accused of killing two people in Billings, Mont., last month, is suspected in four other coin shop slayings throughout the country over the past four years, investigators say.
Sinclair was arrested near his home in Kenney Lake, Alaska, last week after investigators tracked him through Washington, Wyoming and Alaska.He is being held on a $500,000 bond in Palmer, Alaska, while Montana authorities seek his extradition to stand trial for murder in the shooting deaths of Charles Sparboe and Catherine Newstrom.
But Sinclair is also believed to be a suspect in the killings of coin shop workers in Spokane, Wash., in July 1987; Kansas City, Mo., in March, 1988; Vacaville, Calif., in November 1986; and two in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 19 of this year.
Sinclair has also been charged with attempted criminal homicide and aggravated robbery in the May 4 shooting of Kelly Finnegan, owner of Legacy Rare Coins, 153 E. 4370 South in Murray.
Court documents state Sinclair shot Finnegan in the head and left him for dead. Although the bullet just grazed his scalp, Finnegan fell to the floor and played dead. Sinclair allegedly covered Finnegan with a curtain before running off with about $60,000 in rare coins.
Finnegan is believed to be the only living witness to the crimes Sinclair has been charged with, Murray Police Detective Mark Mehrer said.
In most of those crimes, the gunman became acquainted with his victims, shot them in the head with a small-caliber handgun and then robbed the stores of rare coins.
"Our suspect sounds like the typical serial killer," said Sgt. Mike Cook, an investigator with the Vacaville Police Department. "Who knows where this is all going to end?"
Detectives in Vacaville were able to link Sinclair to a killing in that city after a storage shed was searched Wednesday in Sumas, Wash., a small town in the northwest corner of that state, Cook said.
Cook said "very specific evidence" in the November 1986 killing of the owner of the Golden Hills Coin Exchange was found in a storage shed, which had been rented by Sinclair. He would not be more specific about what was found.
"Let's just say we will be seeking a warrant for (Sinclair's) arrest," Cook said. "We have more than enough evidence to charge him."
In Spokane, Police Lt. Robert Van Leuven said Spokane detectives also joined in the search as part of their investigation of the July 1987 slaying of coin dealer Leo Cashatt.
"I'd characterize him as a person of interest who we are going to be looking at relative to the Cashatt homicide," Van Leuven said of Sinclair. "We're certainly going to take a real hard look at Mr. Sinclair and his activities over the last few years to determine if he has any connection with our homicide."