AUGUSTA — A bar of silver bullion police originally believed to be stolen will be returned to the city pawn shop owners who purchased it under an agreement reached Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

The owners of A&E Trading, 162 Water St., Augusta, sought the 100-ounce bar back, saying in pleadings filed in superior court that they are the rightful owners. It’s estimated to have a value of about $4,000.

Amanda Bosse, who owns the shop with her husband, Edwin Harris, said Tuesday they were pleased to be getting it back.

“It’s kind of sad it took hiring a lawyer and going to court when (the district attorney) decided there was not enough evidence to show it belonged to the roommate of the guy who reported it stolen,” Bosse said. “It took somebody coming in off the street that knew about the whole thing to tell me everything was dropped.”

She said that when they contacted the district attorney’s office and were unable to get it returned, they hired a lawyer.

In July, Bosse and Harris paid 30-year-old Anthony M. Figueroa two installments of $900 for the bullion. They were operating as secondhand-property dealers at the time rather than pawnbrokers, said their attorney, Donald S. Lawson-Stopps, of Bath.

As is their custom with most valuables received, the couple notified Augusta police about the silver bar to be sure that it had not been reported stolen. When they heard nothing for five days, they made the final payment.

That afternoon, Marvin Charette, who lived at the same residence as Figueroa, reported that it had been stolen.

Augusta police officers seized the property July 9, citing the investigation.

The city’s attorney, Stephen Langsdorf, said Augusta police were working with the district attorney’s office, which eventually declined to prosecute the case.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Tuesday that her office declined the case “due to insufficient evidence.”

“There was dispute over whether it was stolen or not,” Langsdorf said. “We said we would be willing to turn over the property to the pawn shop.”

He and Augusta police Lt. Chris Reed attended Monday’s court hearing.

Lawson-Stoppes said Justice Donald Marden ordered that the bullion should be returned to Bosse and Harris. Bosse said the shop frequently gets 1-ounce pieces of silver, but nothing that large.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen a 100-ounce bar,” she said.

Bosse and Harris have been operating the shop for about two years.

“We work really good with the Police Department,” Bosse said.

Langsdorf said this was the first time he had handled a case of this type in which people sued to get property returned. Maloney said she’s not sure how rare it is for someone to sue for the return of property, “but I have seen it a couple of times before.”

“Usually if there’s no prosecution, (police) return it,” Langsdorf said. “In this case, the district attorney’s office said there was a dispute over ownership, so the court decided.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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