It took crooks about six minutes to rob Dan Williams of the shining star in his sports card shop–an expensive heist that’s left him devastated.
Dan’s Sports Cards in Orange Park, Florida was a busy place on Monday. Reporters, TV cameras and curious customers stopped by the store. But it wasn’t because someone walked in with a T206 Honus Wagner.
Long-time shop owner and collector Dan Williams had been the victim of an overnight break-in that resulted in the theft of $100,000 worth of vintage baseball cards including a complete 1952 Topps baseball set. Williams pegged the value of his Mantle card (#311) at $30,000, a bit high perhaps unless it was a high grade example, but still a valuable loss. The thief also took a 1963 Fleer set, a stash of 1960s Post Cereal cards and hundreds of other items which had been sitting in three showcases near the checkout.
Williams received a call around 3 AM Monday from his security company and went immediately to the shop’s location but the thieves were already gone. Police estimate it took about six minutes to complete the theft. A cinder block was used to smash the glass front door after power was cut to the store.
Williams believes the crime was masterminded by someone who had been in the shop before. Police are hoping nearby surveillance cameras stationed elsewhere in the strip mall on Kingsley Avenue may have caught some clues that will help them solve the case.
It could have been worse. Video shows a nearby case containing pre-War vintage material including T206, Turkey Red and Goudey cards was apparently untouched.
Williams told reporters his insurance will cover only a portion of the loss. "It’s a major setback," he told a Jacksonville TV station. "This wasn’t just merchandise. It’s stuff I love."
Williams is offering a $1,000 reward. Sports Collectors Daily has learned that Jacksonville’s First Coast Crime Stoppers is accepting information on the case at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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