Postal Worker Fired for Theft of 1915 Cracker Jack Matty

Example of a 1915 Cracker Jack Mathewson card The "baseball card addiction" defense is unleashed in the case of a stolen pre-War card.

In 1915, it was just a prize inside a box of Cracker Jacks.

Now it’ll get your mug shot in the newspaper.

A Maine postal worker lost his job and was sentenced to six months in jail Tuesday after he admitted intercepting an insured U.S. Mail package containing a 1915 Cracker Jack Christy Mathewson that had been sold on eBay.

31 year-old Richard Trofatter of Wells, Maine pleaded guilty in Portsmouth District Court to a class A misdemeanor count of theft of lost or mislaid property. His attorney, James Noucas, said Trofatter was recently treated for "obsessive compulsive behavior surrounding baseball cards". The police report filed in connection with the case states that Trofatter described himself as "borderline addicted" to card collecting.

The ’15 Cracker Jack Mathewson wasn’t one he added to his collection, however. Trofatter sold the card after taking it from a postal bin and its current whereabouts are not known according to Seacoast Online.

The graded card was originally sold on eBay last spring for $1211 by a Wisconsin dealer who shipped it to a Maine collector and insured it for $655. When the card didn’t arrive, the buyer contacted postal investigators who followed the delivery trail to Trofatter.

The 31 year-old collector was fired from his post office job as a result of the charges filed against him.

In issuing the sentence, Judge Sawako Gardner said Trofatter committed "a breach of trust" as someone put in charge of handling U.S. Mail. She didn’t buy the argument from Noucas that the card was simply found in the bottom of a bin used to store mail. Gardner said she couldn’t imagine how a valuable card packaged for shipment would end up loose.

Trofatter’s six-month county jail sentence was suspended as long as he doesn’t get into any more trouble. The judge also fined him $2,000, with $1,000 suspended pending the same good behavior. Trofatter was also ordered to reimburse the U.S. Postal Service $655 for insurance coverage and perform local community service work as part of his sentence.