The annual Roger Maris golf tournament takes place Monday in the late slugger’s hometown of Fargo, ND. It’s a fundraiser for various local charities and as usual, a Sunday night sports memorabilia auction was part of the event.
It’s the first time the tournament has been held since the July 2016 theft of Maris’ 1961 MVP award and jewel-laden 1960 Hickok Belt from the Roger Maris Museum, located inside a local shopping mall.
Nearly a year later the items, worth well into six figures, are still missing.
A burglar dressed as a security guard ran into the mall, smashed a glass display and back out a mall entrance where it’s believed a getaway car awaited. It was a bizarre scene that played out on a grainy security camera in the middle of the night.
According to law enforcement officials in North Dakota, the FBI has now taken over the investigation, which could be tied to other high-dollar sports memorabilia thefts at museums in other parts of the country.
“You never want to see anything taken from you, especially in a theft,” Roger Maris Jr., told the Fargo Forum. “Life goes on and you just regroup and move forward. Hopefully one day they’ll find that stuff and bring it back.”
Maris said his father wanted the museum to be in a public place with no admission charge.
The mall increased security measures after the theft but there are no plans to move the memorabilia.
“I think really that the museum still stands for Roger and what he stood for,” said West Acres Mall Property Manager Chris Heaton. “It still celebrates his life and his achievements, and not having those two pieces there is not going to detract from what he accomplished and what the museum stands for as a whole.”