It’s a story involving an auction house, a couple of collectors, guns, an incredibly steamed OJ Simpson and Las Vegas. And you thought Pete Rose and Barry Bonds were as weird as it gets when it comes to sports memorabilia.
O.J. Simpson maintains he was just aggressively retrieving some stolen stuff but Las Vegas police seem to have a more serious take on what happened Thursday night.
After an investigation, Simpson was arrested and jailed Sunday on robbery and other charges…and we now have an early candidate for weirdest sports memorabilia story of the year.
Before being hauled away by police, Simpson told reporters he was contacted a couple of weeks ago by dealer Tom Riccio of Corona, California-based Universal Rarities.
Riccio, who had worked with Simpson before, told the former Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Famer that some other men were looking to find buyers for some of Simpson’s personal belongings. Simpson maintains that Mike Gilbert, his former licensing agent, stole items from a storage locker several years ago.
"I was trying to get him his stuff back," Riccio told KLAS TV.
One of the two dealer/collectors in the room, Bruce Fromong, told the station, Simpson made off with $100,000 worth of items. Fromong, who knew Simpson, claimed he and collector Al Beardsley were "set up" by Simpson and Riccio.
Among the items involved and seized by police over the weekend were a pair of Joe Montana cleats, autographed baseballs, and several items signed by Simpson himself. The suit Simpson was wearing when acquitted of murder charges in 1995 has also been prominently mentioned in media reports, several of which are fairly entertaining.
TMZ.com has been all over the case. They even have audio purported to be from the break-in–a profanity-laced tirade by Simpson.
The New York Times, which annoyingly refers to everyone by "Mr." or "Mrs.", nevertheless has solid reporting on the story.
Alfred Beardsley, one of the men in the room where the alleged crime took place, talked with Associated Press television this weekend and says he just wants the whole thing to go away.
John Ziegler, radio talk show host at KFI in Los Angeles, has an extensive interview with Beardsley, who gives a behind the scenes blow-by-blow of the deal.