Two 1950s baseball jerseys and a 1960s Notre Dame bomber jacket have been stolen from the Nelson Sports Museum on the concourse of the Civic Arena.
The theft happened sometime over the long weekend — the items were last seen in place on August 2 and were noticed missing on August 5.
The Nelson Regional Sports Council, which oversees the facility, said police are ware of the situation and suggest a lookout be kept on eBay and Craigslist in case someone tries to sell the items, described as “irreplaceable and priceless.”
“So much effort goes into collecting and preparing the items for an authentic display, it is sad that they could potentially be damaged, lost or ruined,” executive director Kim Palfenier.
Bill McDonnell, who was instrumental in establishing the museum and organizing the exhibits, said the theft happened sometime after attendant Adam Grace finished his shift Saturday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
Although the rink was closed to the public the rest of the weekend, McDonnell said there are always maintenance-related projects going on, and it’s possible someone slipped in and swiped the items. There was no sign of forced entry, but a door was found ajar.
The baseball jerseys were among four added to the museum this summer and presented in a locker room-style display.
One has pinstripes and “Tigers” written across the chest and the other says “Outlaws.” Two other jerseys of a similar vintage were not taken.
The jacket, meanwhile, belonged to McDonnell. “It was given to me in 1970,” he said. “We’ve had that on display for over a year now and nobody touched it.”
McDonnell said the jerseys and jacket were the only artifacts not in cases or behind plexiglass and that the theft was a “wake-up call” about protecting the collection.
He contacted the donor Wednesday. “She said it’s too bad it happened, and hopes they come back, but understands why we set it up in a particular way.”
McDonnell said he has advised pawn shops, who pledged to let him know if the items show up. He had no idea, however, whether the thief was looking to sell them or keep them.