His ordeal is not over yet, but longtime California dealer/collector Don DelMazzio has a little bit more peace of mind this week.
A three-month investigation into a burglary at DelMazzio’s residence in Anaheim Hills, California, resulted in an arr
est Tuesday of a 33-year old man and the recovery of stolen property, including graded cards, memorabilia and a painting valued collectively at more than $150,000.
“We got a whole bunch of stuff back,” DelMazzio said Wednesday afternoon, “but it’s a long way from being 100 percent.”
On Tuesday, police arrested Jonas McClanahan, 33, of Whittier, California, and booked him for possession of stolen property. He is being held at the Anaheim Detention Facility; bail has not been set.
A spokesman for the Anaheim police department told the Orange County Register that McClanahan allegedly was selling the items from his front yard.
“He was having a yard sale where he was selling the stuff for 10 percent of (its) worth,” Sgt. Daron Wyatt told the newspaper.
DelMazzio, 70, said some of the recovered items included a Mickey Mantle signed lithograph, four autographed and authenticated Mantle baseballs, and “three-quarters” of the 1,500 PSA-graded cards that were stolen.
“Some of them were messed up,” DelMazzio told Sports Collectors Daily. “A couple of the graded cards were broken. They looked like they were probably stepped on.”
Also recovered was a 40-inch by 50-inch Thomas Kinkade lithograph, “Pools of Serenity,” which had been taken off the wall.
“It was a little bit damaged,” DelMazzio said.
DelMazzio said authorities contacted him several weeks ago when there was a break in the case.
“One of the key tips came from a PSA Set Registry member who was offered one of the items our staff flagged as ‘stolen’ in our system,” stated PSA President Joe Orlando. “He then turned over the contact info to detectives, who closed in on the guy selling the item.”
During the investigation, detectives found some of the memorabilia at a Roseville, California, home during a March 15 search. The resident, who was upset when authorities confiscated the souvenirs, had purchased them, Wyatt told the Orange County Register.
Investigators then served a search warrant at McClanahan’s home Tuesday, found property that had been stolen from DelMazzio’s house, and arrested him. He is also expected to face charges in several other burglaries, according to the Register.
When Del Mazzio’s house was robbed in January, he estimated that 3,000 graded cards, a box of signed baseballs and an attaché case full of signed, certified lithographs had been stolen. In one room, a pillowcase full of “2,000 to 3,000” cards had been left behind by the thieves.
“The place was turned upside down,” said Del Mazzio, who has been in the collectibles business for more than 30 years, and whose company — DDM Sports Investments — has been a California-based business since 1989. “It was frightening.”
Orlando said PSA would use Del Mazzio’s comprehensive list (complete with serial numbers) to flag items as stolen in the firm’s database. Apparently, the list bore fruit.
“Because of PSA, they helped get this thing resolved quickly,” DelMazzio said Wednesday.
A longtime fan of the New York Yankees (“I was born in Yankee stripes”), Del Mazzio shares the same birthday (May 16) as former New York player and manager, Billy Martin. He’s just as pugnacious, too. He vowed not to let the robbery affect how he operates.
“We were violated. Not only physically,” he said in January. “It affects your psyche, but we’re not built that way.
“I do have fire in my blood.”
And a sense of orderliness.
“What’s agonizing is that you put all these items together, catalogue them, store them, and they come back all in little pieces,” DelMazzio said Wednesday.
Del Mazzio spent part of Tuesday talking with local reporters at an Anaheim Police Department news conference.
After recovering a good chunk of his collectibles this week, DelMazzio believes more will be found.
“I think we’re going to get a lot more stuff back,” he said.