ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man who collects baseball memorabilia knew something was amiss when his Babe Ruth autographed baseball was missing from its hiding spot.
Only two people knew where he hid it: his wife and his daughter. James Bennett called police to report his missing collection, about $100,000 worth of cards and memorabilia. He also reported the name of a possible suspect: Michelle Ortiz, his daughter.
Detectives believe Ortiz stole the items and sold them to a man she found through Craigslist. That person, in turn, posted items on Ebay.
According to the criminal complaint, Bennett found the items on Ebay and made an additional report to police. Police set up a sting to buy from the Ebay seller, and tracked down Ortiz and her husband based on his information. They’re both being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, booked on theft charges.
Other collectors say Bennett’s collection, which includes 50 complete sets of valuable cards, thousands of individual cards, and the autographed Babe Ruth baseball, is rare.
“It’s very uncommon,” said Charles Pascetti, owner of Charlie’s Cardz. “You can find individual cards from those years, but to have something in a complete set, is very rare in Albuquerque or New Mexico.”
Some of the collection was recovered, but other items had already been sold.
One of the sold items was the Babe Ruth baseball, which had been sold on Ebay to an Indiana buyer. Police were still working to recover that item, according to the criminal complaint.