More on a local legend victimized by thieves after his death - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

More on a mysterious Vt. man victimized by thieves after his death

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SHELBURNE, Vt. -

By all accounts Radkin was an enigma. A memorial website set up by his friends is testament to that.

"Radkin was a very interesting man, unlike any other that I have ever known," Betty Marcher said.

Marcher was a good friend. She describes Radkin as an outspoken poet, musician, vegetarian, tinkerer and ham radio buff, who liked to BE in the buff.

"He wasn't like anyone else that you would ever meet he had the most amazingly beautiful voice ..he was a very special man," she said.

He was born Richard Burgess in 1945 in Massachusetts. He graduated from Deerfield Academy. He moved to Vermont in the 1970s and changed his name to Radkin, short for Radio Kinetics. He worked for Mad River Glen Ski area and Shelburne Shipyard before getting a job as caretaker for the Jackson family property on Shelburne Point, living in small cabins he built.

"He lived for a long time on the point without electricity. I remember I used to go there and he would generate his own electricity. Very much a minimalist in the way he ate and in the way he lived," Marcher said.

In 2003, Radkin bought an old farm in Alburgh and moved in. The loin cloth-loving, left wing conspiracy theorist mostly kept to himself.

Radkin's neighbors in Alburgh have a different story to tell. Oh, he was a character all right, but not so endearing.

"You would see him bathing in the lake or hauling water from the lake, just really odd," John Flurey said.

Flurey lives across from the Radkin farm. And he confirmed that Radkin was often nude.

"He had odd friends, eccentric friends. He liked to go to the auction and the only time you would see him in clothes was at the auction or if he popped into the legion for one of their free things there," Flurey said.

Radkin was killed last year in a farm accident. A tractor he was working on fell on top of him, crushing him.

"Tony Fisher and I noticed the tractor up on the woodpile. He did a lot of weird stuff, so we didn't think much of it," Flurey said.

That was in January 2012. His body was not discovered until weeks later.

Radkin's farm has been vandalized several times, police suspect, over the past year. Four people were recently arrested for trying to sell gold and silver coins worth more than $200,000 taken from the farm. Only $5,000 worth of coins have been recovered. Antiques were taken, as well. So, what was this self-described minimalist doing with such treasure?

"Yes, there again the whole minimalist survival mentality, I think. I think that he was putting money into gold because it seemed like a safe place for it to be, although in retrospect, not so safe if people are going to steal it, you know. But I think that is what it was about," Marcher said.

Radkin's friends meanwhile are left with a lifetime of memories of a man they say, who is impossible to forget.

Police say all those coins were sold in Chittenden County. More arrests are expected.

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