NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Many baseball fans are disappointed after a thief walked into Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in Times Square and walked out with an autographed baseball and bat used by the Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio.
The thief even replaced the stolen memorabilia with fakes, CBS2’s Mark Morgan reports.
“The bat was in a case, a locked case… the ball was displayed above it was well. All of these items were noticed two days ago that something was amiss, and after further investigation, we realized it was not the authentic items,” Ripley’s General Manager Bret Pidgeon said.
Pidgeon said hundreds of baseball fans go through a museum room where over $1.2 million worth of memorabilia is on display, including numerous autographed items by some of the all-time greats and 70 Hall of Fame limited edition bats.
The autographed ball and bat were valued at around $5,000. A signed baseball from Hall of Famer Ted Williams, worth about $750, was also stolen.
The Williams’ baseball was also replaced with a forgery, and baseball purists CBS2 spoke to were outraged that these rare items were stolen.
“We sort of live vicariously through these things, and for somebody to take that for their own personal gain deprives us of an experience,” Robert Meier, of Clinton, New York, said.
“I think they should be leaving that stuff alone because it’s very important for the history of baseball… it should be returned,” Andrew Donnelly, of Pt. Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, said.
Police are currently investigating the robberies, combing through surveillance video for any clues that could lead them to a suspect.