TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - It was an ordinary morning last May on a Bay Area beach; just like any other for avid scavenger hunter Frank Abreu.
"That day, I had 18 targets in my pouch. Went about my day, cleaned up after myself, went home," he remembered.
That's where he began to inspect what his metal detector had discovered: Three Roman coins dating back centuries.
"I was just telling myself those coins, they're probably fake or somebody must have left them there," Frank said.
Several months passed before Frank got the courage to reveal his secret.
"My only concern is that some would be in disbelief and try to discredit me," Frank explained.
So he called local coin collector and dealer Eric Davies at The Gold Spot in Pinellas Park.
"I said, 'They're probably copies, I don't know that these are authentic,'" Davies explained. "I said, 'Bring them in and let's take a look at it and see what we can do.'"
One look and Eric was sold.
"I took a very close look under the microscope and indeed, I'd have to say 85-90 percent authentic Roman coin," Eric said.
By this time, Frank had found seven in total. They were all on the same beach, in a location he doesn't want to reveal to avoid a scavenger frenzy.
"The implications that there could have been Romans here in the United States prior to Christopher Columbus is crazy. So if that can be proved or if someone can tell me how these coins got here that's really what we need to find out." Frank said.
As of now, it's still a mystery centuries in the making; one that Frank is determined to solve.