It’s been two years since Roger Maris artifacts were stolen from West Acres

https://www.wday.com/news/4440958-its-been-two-years-roger-maris-artifacts-were-stolen-west-acres

WDAY

It’s been two years since Roger Maris artifacts were stolen from West Acres

FARGO—The search is still on for two artifacts taken from the Roger Maris Museum nearly two years ago.

The items are valued at more than $100,000, but many consider them priceless.

More than half a century ago at Yankee Stadium, a crack was heard around the world.

It’s October 1st, 1961, a time before steroids and enhancement drugs, the North Dakotan would become major league baseball’s first to truly break Babe Ruth’s home run record.

This accomplishment brought the elusive S. Rae Hickok belt to the hands of Roger Maris.

“At that time, it was probably the biggest award given in professional sports,” said Chris Heaton, Museum Manager.

He didn’t want to keep the glory to himself.

This free museum opened in June 1984 at West Acres Mall nearly two years before Roger passed away.

Trophies, artifacts, and memorabilia donated line its shelves.

Decades later on July 26th, 2016 the Hickok belt vanished.

A thief dressed as a security guard broke through these exterior doors smashing a glass panel and taking the jewel-encrusted Hickok belt and his 1960 MVP plate.

The alarm was instantly activated and mall security got here in less than 20 seconds, but they didn’t get here in time to even get a glimpse of the thief.

“It was very upsetting, very disturbing,” said Heaton.

A premeditated planned out heist, police believe the thief was out of state by sunrise.

They teamed up with the FBI to find the suspect thinking this case could be linked to similar heists in 2012.

A New York Times article describes a man dressed as a ninja stealing a different Hickok belt and several gold trophies in the New Jersey area.

To this day no major leads turned up for this major league crime.

“There was a search warrant that was conducted down out of state where we thought maybe an individual might have been connected to it, because of stolen property, however it did not yield any sort of information,” said Jessica Schindeldecker, Fargo Police Department.

They can’t tell us when or where that search took place.

Craig Lisher a Minnesota FBI spokesperson says they’re no longer a part of the case.

Because of the FBI’s absence, Fargo investigators think the thefts on the east coast are not linked.

Since February of 2017, the case is listed as “inactive.”

It left family members scratching their heads later that summer.

Chris Heaton, the museum’s manager didn’t want to leave these spaces empty.

“We had to make a decision on what to do,” said Heaton.

Placeholders for the two awards now sit behind the glass booth next to a description of what happened.

“This theft is now a part of the history of these items,” said Heaton.

Heaton says they’ve amped up their defenses ensuring this doesn’t happen again.

“We have made some changes in security, not just to the museum, but to the shopping center itself,” said Heaton.

He obviously won’t tell us what those changes are.

He can say the memoirs of Maris remain free to the public, hoping the property of Fargo’s favorite son will someday come home.

Kevin Maris says they haven’t heard of any major leads on the investigation.

He says the family hopes the artifacts will be returned someday.

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