NY DA: Mass. man accused of Fenway Park theft
A Massachusetts man who concocted a story about needing to sell $25,000 worth of Red Sox memorabilia to help pay his sick son's medical bills is facing criminal charges in New York after prosecutors said Thursday that he never had an ailing child and the items were stolen from Fenway Park.
Jamie Pritchard Holland of Nahant, Mass., was charged with possession of stolen property for attempting to sell Boston Red Sox equipment bags, warm-up jackets and jerseys and other gear on a Long Island auction website, said Suffolk County, N.Y., District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Holland was released last week without bail and ordered to return to court on June 7. He was represented by an attorney from Legal Aid, which does not comment on pending cases. There was no telephone listing for him in Nahant.
Joshua Evans, chairman of the auction website, Lelands.com, said Holland contacted him in the fall about wanting to sell the equipment to defray the costs of caring for his son. He said he paid a $2,000 advance for the items and scheduled a December auction to sell the items.
Days before the online auction was to begin, however, police raided the Lelands.com warehouse in Bohemia after being contacted by investigators from Major League Baseball, who saw the items listed for sale on the website and noticed they matched items that had previously been stolen from the ballpark in Boston. The auction was canceled and officials seized the stolen memorabilia.
Prosecutors did not file charges until last week because authorities in both New York and Massachusetts are still investigating the theft of the items, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Spota. Holland, who has children but none who are believed to be ailing, has been cooperating, authorities said.
A Major League Baseball spokesman confirmed that its investigators worked with law enforcement regarding the sale of stolen Red Sox memorabilia, but did not elaborate.
The memorabilia included a home plate from the Fenway Park bullpen, an outfield distance marker (380 feet) that was signed by Red Sox great Johnny Pesky, a first base glove used by Kevin Youkilis, cleats worn by second baseman Dustin Pedroia and other team property.
Evans said Holland "seemed like a very genuine guy and had this very sad story about his son dying." He said he was perplexed why Holland allegedly concocted the story, since all the information about the proposed sale and where the items originated was posted on the company website. Evans estimated the items could have fetched as much as $25,000 at auction.
On Wednesday, a longtime clubhouse manager for the New York Mets was charged with stealing team property valued at more than $2.3 million.