100K worth of rare sports collectibles swiped in North Center heist
CHICAGO — The owner of a North Center memorabilia store spoke out Wednesday about a heist that cost him thousands of dollars and the possession of items with sentimental value.
“Over 30 years gone in three-and-a-half minutes,” said business owner Ronnie Holloway.
The store has stood in North Center for about 30 years, with Holloway taking over the reins from his friend a few years ago. But baseball cards are something he’s loved since he was a child after a chance discovery one day while walking home.
“I was coming home from school, I found a card on the ground, Ernie Banks, and I picked it up but didn’t know exactly what it was. Since then, I was just fascinated,” Holloway said.
Over the years, Holloway’s collection grew into something he wanted to pass to his two children but had some of the greats on display for the whole neighborhood to enjoy.
“I brought them in to share with other families and kids that may not see them in person,” Holloway said.
Someone else, though, seemingly spotted those pricy cards too, and over the Memorial Day weekend, cut out the brick at the back of the building and busted in through a window.
“They cut the concrete, the mortar where the bars on the window and those bars were pulled out after ripping out the concrete (and) took part of the brick out as well,” Holloway said.
The offender raided the glass cases, one by one, of more than $100,000 in collectibles.
“The Mickey Mantle runs about $40,000. The Babe Ruth could range anywhere from $15,000. The Jordan graded pack is about $25,000 plus because there’s less than 40 of those out there,” Holloway said.
Holloway’s Ernie banks card, which he says holds sentimental value, is also gone.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said.
But he says the neighborhood has rallied around him, with one little boy offering up part of his collection to help ease the pain.
“I hung it up, you know, and he said, ‘I’m sorry you lost your cards, but I want to give you one of mine,’” Holloway said. “That touched me and it makes me keep going.”
But he’s hoping whoever is responsible is caught and the collectibles located and returned.
“I’m a person who worked my way up and had nothing,” Holloway said. “These are things I worked hard for and enjoyed.”
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