More than $54K in sports cards stolen from Knoxville memorabilia dealer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A thief broke into an East Tennessee sports memorabilia card shop Sunday and stole more than $54,000 in sports cards, authorities said.

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Surveillance video showed a man using what appeared to be a hammer to shatter the glass front door of Eddie’s Sports Treasures in Knoxville, WVLT reported. The break-in occurred at about 12:45 a.m. EDT, as the man broke the glass and crawled into the shop through the bottom panel of the door, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Eddie Barkley, the owner of the shop, said the thief knew exactly where to go, grabbing unopened boxes of sports cards before making his getaway, WATE reported.

“I’ve got probably 200 different items on the shelves and he took all the most expensive ones and he did it within two minutes,” Barkley told the television station. “One of the boxes that he took, it retails for $3,500. And I had eight of those taken.”

Barkley told Sports Collectors Daily that the thief took eight boxes of 2020 Panini National Treasures football cards with a retail price of $3,500 each. Among the other items stolen were full cases of 2018 and 2020 Bowman Chrome baseball, three boxes of 2020-21 Prizm basketball, four boxes each of 2020 Encased and Limited football and a box of 2020 Mosaic football.

Barkley said the prices of sports cards have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with demand high and cards in short supply.

So he was not surprised when the thief returned to the shop after the break-in and helped himself to more cards.

“He carried out an arm full of stuff in the first trip,” Barkley told WVLT. “And then, because the alarm didn’t go off, the person drove back by an hour and a half later, and actually came back in again and took another load.”

Barkley said his losses could have been worse. The robber walked past a signed Tom Brady jersey worth $2,000, the television station reported.

The cards, however, are untraceable and easier to sell.

Barkley’s store is not the first sports card shop to be targeted this year. Several days before the robbery in Knoxville, an estimated $25,000 in sports cards was stolen from a store in Lexington, Kentucky, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Barkley said there will be more cards to sell, but the robbery was disturbing.

“It’s my most hottest, valuable types of cards today,” Barkley told WATE. “In the next couple weeks, there will be something else that’s high-end like that. But as of right now, that was my cream of the crop, so to speak. “I just want to catch the guy. I mean, I’m more worried about that than I am the money. Obviously, $50,000 is very important to me as it would be to anybody, but the point is I absolutely despise thieves.”


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