Stolen sports memorabilia recovered, suspects arrested | News
TROY - Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Mohammed Ali. Their photos, their memorabilia, and their autographs were all part of a huge cache of stolen sports collectibles retrieved this week in the city of Troy.
It all boiled to to good, old-fashioned police work and the cooperation of a downtown pawn shop owner.
More than a month ago, city detectives were able to identify a suspect in the theft of copper wire from a National Grid property. After following the suspect for weeks, police obtained a search warrant for his house at 1708 Highland Avenue -- just east of the RPI campus --where they recovered lots and lots of sports memorabilia.
Two suspects have been charged in the case, 28-year old Bobby Joe Dayton, and 28-year old William Vertefeuille, Junior.
On Friday night the evidence room in the basement of Troy Police headquarters became a temporary repository for some of the greatest treasures of American sports.
there was a baseball bat signed by Willie Mays, boxing gloves signed by Muhammed Ali, jerseys, action figures, autographed baseballs, and lots and lots of baseball cards including Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, and even Michael Jordan.
"Detectives recovered a considerable bounty," boasted Troy Police Captain John Cooney. "They recovered hundreds of items all genuine and all believed to be very valuable in nature."
At the Captain Cash Pawn Shop on Third Street, Kate Leary says they've been buying up many of the sports collectibles from those suspects for weeks."
"I would ask them where they got the stuff because when they first started coming in, it was very slow but they had high end collectible memorabilia, stuff that I had never seen," Leary says.
Leary says they even had a believable story, telling her the items belonged to their dead grandfather and they found it while cleaning out his basement.
The real story, according to police, is that the two men stole the items from a neighbor when he was out of town.
Both Dayton and Vertefeuille are charged with possession of stolen property. Vertefeuille faces an additional burglary charge.
Cooney credits the pawn shop for properly obtaining customer IDs from the suspects and for providing the information to police.
Kate Leary says she's out more than a thousand dollars but she says that's the cost of doing business. Stolen property, she insists, is actually rare in her shop. They buy about 300 items a day and less than 1% is hot.