CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) – Autographed Cardinals photos, stolen from a sports memorabilia store, were found at another store in the same mall. Now, the man accused of selling these stolen goods is facing charges.
When Bryan Pfeiffer walked into Chesterfield Baseball Cards wanting to sell some signed Cardinals photos, store owner Doug Gross says he didn’t think anything of it: “I asked him where he got them, and he said he got them at a show, so that’s a plausible explanation.”
Meanwhile, on the other end of Chesterfield Mall, St. Louis Sports Company owner Ryan Houston started getting calls about his merchandise popping up in places it shouldn’t be: on eBay, in pawn shops, and at Chesterfield Baseball Cards.
Houston explains, “Friends of mine were telling me that, who are in this industry, always out chasing autographs and stuff like that.” The store owner did an inventory, and realized that roughly 70 autographed baseball photos were missing.
Ultimately, Chesterfield police say the suspect was identified through a photo lineup and paper trail, since Gross had written him several checks. Pfeiffer, 25, is now charged with Receiving Stolen Property. He is also suspected of stealing the memorabilia, but there wasn’t enough evidence to also charge him with theft.
For Gross and others in this business, separating a true memorabilia owner who needs money, from a thief who needs money, isn’t always easy.
Chesterfield Police Lt. Mike Thompson explains, “It really becomes the buyer’s responsibility, to make sure they feel comfortable that what they’re buying is legitimate, and that the person selling it is the legitimate owner of that property.”
Gross adds, “Unless I know the person, I ask where they got it from, and why are you selling?”
Out of the roughly 70 stolen Cardinals photos, just 15 of them were returned to St. Louis Sports Company. The others were already sold, and too tough to trace.