When investigators shut down a phony sports memorabilia ring in Ohio, they discovered thousands of items that were being used to hold those fake autographs. Stacked on pallets were jerseys, helmets and enough baseballs, footballs and basketballs to equip more than a few athletic teams.
It seemed like a shame to throw it all away but the items that had fake autographs couldn’t be sold so law enforcement officers got together to hatch “Operation Stolen Base”.
Representatives of charities in southeastern Ohio joined officers the Canfield Police Department to announce a plan that will put some of that sports equipment into the hands of people who can use them. The items will be donated to the Youngstown State baseball team, the Veterans Service Commission, local Boys and Girls Clubs and domestic violence shelters and a local Family and Community Services organization.
“We took the value of that signature, which was false. We were able to destroy that, and now we can turn around and give it back to the community and let these kids enjoy what they don’t have,” Detective Brian McGivern told WKBN-TV.
While those involved in the seven-figure forgery ring have been convicted, one of them is appealing and so the donations won’t happen just yet but McGivern says he’s confident all of the items will be given away.
There was no immediate word on what would happen to the items that are of a collectible nature, such as signed photographs, that were confiscated.