Probation, Restitution in Sports Memorabilia Theft

A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to seven years probation and ordered to repay over $174,000 after pleading guilty to the theft of valuable vintage sports cards and autographs.

Portions of a large collection of old baseball cards and other sports memorabilia stolen from a Pennsylvania collector last year may never be recovered.

Detective Mike Carso of the Peters Township, Pennsylvania police department acknowledged Tuesday that the man who stole dozens of T206s, 1910 Tip Top bread cards and sports autographs sold most of what he took from collector John Dicks.

Washington County judge John DiSalle sentenced 40 year-old Todd Steven Bodner to seven years probation on Monday and ordered the Finleyville, PA resident to to pay $174,553 in restitution. Bodner had pleaded guilty to theft charges in January after being arrested in March of 2008. He and McMurray (PA) resident Dicks were acquainted and Dicks didn’t realize some of his valuable collection was missing until enough time had passed for Bodner to sell many of the items.

While investigators were only able to verify that $174,553 worth of items were missing, Dicks told police the theft totalled at least $245,000. Bodner was ordered to pay $250 per month indefinitely by the court. Washington County District Attorney Chad Schneider told Sports Collectors Daily that Dicks also planned to file a civil suit against Bodner in an attempt to recover his losses.

Carso said the lengthy list of items reported stolen by Dicks included a rare autographed Babe Ruth photo that Bodner sold to a local dealer, who in turn, sold it through American Memorabilia in October of 2007 for over $14,000. Also on the list were ten to twelve 1910 Tip Top Bread cards including a rare Honus Wagner, 150 T206 cards, at least one 19th century Old Judge card, 30-50 historic autographs and 200 signed index cards. Most of the items tracked by police were sold out of state, making them more difficult to recover. Carso said that to date "very little" of the collection has been returned.

As part of the plea agreement, Bodner was ordered to have no contact with Dicks.