May 18, 1995 in Nation/World

Sports Card Thieves Were No Rookies Burglars Take $8,000 Worth Of Store’s Best Merchandise

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The burglars who broke into Burt Mailman’s shop either made a lucky grab or were well-versed in sports memorabilia.

Along with some baseball cards worth a buck, the thieves snatched some pricey players.

Missing from the shelves at Ebbets Field sports card shop are a 1963 Pete Rose worth $1,100, a ‘68 Nolan Ryan with a book value of $1,500 and a ‘61 Wilt Chamberlain valued at $1,600.

“Whoever did it had to know a little bit about cards to take them,” said Mailman. “But it didn’t look like they were walking along and picking and choosing. They just picked up a couple of shelves of stuff.”

In all, Mailman lost about $8,000 worth of cards. That includes a couple of Cal Ripkin cards, a Mike Schmidt and two 1982 Topps box set trading series.

“I’ve had these cards for years and years, and a lot of them I wouldn’t even sell. It’s just stuff for people to look at, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” said a frustrated Mailman.

Authorities said the store on Pine Street was burglarized late Sunday or early Monday. The card snatchers smashed the glass in the front door and made off with the collectibles.

Kids have been in the store all week asking Mailman about the burglary.

“I thought I had moved far enough away from all that (crime), but I guess the bad guys are here, too,” he said, adding that most of his anger has subsided.

“That doesn’t mean I can say I wouldn’t be in jail if I get my hands on these people.”

Mailman suspects the burglars will try to resell the cards. Because they aren’t marked with identification numbers, it will be difficult, authorities said, for other shop owners to verify the cards are stolen.

“Most reputable card stores won’t buy them, though,” Mailman said. “It would be suspicious. There aren’t that many of those cards around here or in Spokane.”

The cards were insured, but the heist wiped out some of Mailman’s best inventory. He now plans to keep his expensive collectibles in a safe deposit box instead of on display and also to beef up security.


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