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Atlantic City Police investigating sports card theft at The National

A dealer left the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City with more than $80,000 worth of sports cards allegedly stolen from Gizmo's Sportscards.
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The Atlantic City Police Department is investigating the theft of $87,800 worth of sports cards allegedly stolen from a prominent dealer at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Rick Giddings of Gizmo’s Sportscards of Davis Junction, Ill. reported the alleged theft to Atlantic City police on the final day of The National at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

According to Giddings, who is on the board of directors of The National, the incident occurred between 4 and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30.

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According to Giddings, another dealer he has sold cards to before approached his booth (#1413) on Saturday afternoon with a bag he said contained $100,000 in cash packaged in two 400-count card boxes.

The dealer, who sells cards on eBay, asked Giddings and his staff if they would hold the bag for him while he looked through their inventory of cards.

According to Giddings, the dealer picked out 29 cards valued at $87,800. The lot of cards included: a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle card valued at $20,000; a 1955 Roberto Clemente rookie card valued at $16,000; a 1955 Sandy Koufax rookie card valued at $10,000; and several other Mantle and Clemente cards.

“He picked up 29 cards and handed them to me. I looked at them and said, ‘Yeah, maybe I can work some kind of deal,’” Giddings told Sports Collectors Digest. “We hadn’t cut a deal yet, so he said, ‘Do you mind if I give them to my son,’ who was about three booths away.”

A card case at Gizmo's Sportscards shows Mickey Mantle cards missing following an alleged theft at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

A card case at Gizmo's Sportscards shows Mickey Mantle cards missing following an alleged theft at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

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Giddings said the customer then walked to a nearby booth and gave the cards to his son.

“I thought nothing of it. He came back down and sat down and started [talking] with us,” he said. “… Then about an hour goes by and the kid doesn’t show up, so I’m starting to worry. So he gets up and says, ‘I’ll go find him,’ and he took off toward the exit doors.”

Giddings said the dealer texted him at about 5:40 p.m. and said, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

At that point, Giddings said he started to get suspicious.

“Anybody who has got that type of money, or says he does, would you leave that in a booth? … So I’m scared,” he said.

At that point, Giddings said he opened the bag and found two boxes marked “$50,000.” The two boxes, however, contained only $500 each in $1 bills, he said.

“I guess he wanted me to feel warm because I trusted that he had the money there and thought, ‘He’s not going to run if he’s got that kind of money.’ But he did,” Giddings said. “It was terrible.”

When the dealer did not show up the following morning, Giddings contacted the Atlantic City Police Department, which is now investigating the alleged theft.

Detectives from the Atlantic City Police Department investigate the alleged theft of sports cards at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Detectives from the Atlantic City Police Department investigate the alleged theft of sports cards at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

“I’m devastated,” Giddings said. “I’m out of mind that I let him leave the booth because I trusted him because his bag was in the booth. We had no idea how much money was in the bag; it’s not my job to do that.

“Damn me for trusting someone to walk a few booths away. I don’t even know what to say. I’m pretty shook up.”

Detective Thomas McCabe declined to comment on the case because it is an active investigation and charges have not been filed yet. According to the police report, a copy of which was obtained by SCD, officers contacted the alleged suspect on Aug. 1 and requested he return to the Atlantic City to answers questions and provide a statement. According to the report, the alleged suspect declined the request. According to police, he denied the allegations and claimed the sale was "legitimate."

Giddings, who provided evidence and witnesses who saw the incident, said he has contacted other dealers to warn them about the incident and see if they have any information about the alleged suspects.

“Being on the board of directors, it really made me mad,” he said. “We are contacting all the big dealers. We have talked to all the guys we know and are close to and some of the grading companies and Facebook sites, anything we can do to get information on where he is at.”

Giddings, a longtime dealer, said he has been the victim of theft before but never in an incident of this magnitude.

“I’ve never had anything this size,” he said. “What kind of person would do that? It’s just unbelievable. I’m stunned.”

Anyone who has information about the incident can text anonymous tips to 847411 (TIP411) or call the Atlantic City Police Department at (609)-347-5780 or (609)-347-5737. 

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