DANBURY, Conn. — Two Danbury residents have been charged with stealing nearly $700,000 worth of toy trains while running an auction house for antique toys, police said.
Danbury police detectives began an investigation into the case back in November with the state Department of Consumer Protection and the Connecticut attorney general's office after receiving complaints.
There were over 60 victims with close to $700,000 in losses, police said.
Donald Karagianes, 54, and Naomi Karagianes, 52, were each arrested on multiple charges. They operated the Nette Auction out of 45 West St. in Danbury — short for the New England Toy Train Exchange.
Bothe were charged with 12 counts of first-degree larceny and one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, police said.
Each was released on written promise to appear in court May 5, police said. (No photo was available of Naomi Karagianes, police said.)
Nette Auctions bought and sold antique toys, with an emphasis on toy trains. Here is how the company described partially itself on its Facebook page, which has not been updated recently:
"Here at NETTE Auctions we are a premier, full-service antiques and collectibles auction gallery. With our experience, we know how to reach the people seeking what you have to offer. We provide a fully experienced staff with the knowledge to properly handle all your most valued items."
A man identified only as John G. posted on the Standard Gauge Toy Train Forum on Facebook in November about the closing of Nette Auctions.
"Needless to say they have left many clients unpaid from previous auctions, including a friend's widow who auctioned his collection with them and never received payment," John G. wrote. "To say I was upset when she called and told me she hadn't been paid was the understatement of the year."