MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) – A customer claims a sports memorabilia store in Long Island stole his “one-of-a-kind” Yankees game jacket passed down from three generations of his family and signed by 37 Yankee greats, including Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter.
Edward Kull says his grandfather got the jacket from “his friend, Jack Reed, an outfielder on the iconic 1961 Yankees World Series team.” That was the year the Yanks beat the Red 4 games to 1 and Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, the aggrieved fan added in his complaint in Nassau County Court.
His grandfather gave the jacket to his father, who gave it to him, Kull says. It bore nearly 40 autographs from Yankees players, managers, broadcasters, announcers and even owner George Steinbrenner.
Kull says he gave Steiner Sports the jacket and paid it $160 to get Yogi Berra to sign it. Berra was to be at the mall where Steiner Sports operates, on Nov. 26, 2007, and Kull says he couldn’t make it that day.
Kull says he never saw the jacket again.
He says the store manager promised to keep the jacket in the display room under “around-the-clock” video surveillance, but employees put it in the only “blind spot” the cameras could not record.
When he returned several days after Berra’s appearance, a new manager told him that the man to whom he gave the jacket had stolen it with help from other employees, Kull says.
The new boss said that “a host of other items had also recently gone missing” in an apparent “inside job,” and the store had “cleaned house” by firing everyone suspected, according to the complaint.
Kull says Steiner Sports made no meaningful effort to get the jacket returned, and told him that it had contacted police immediately though it actually had delayed for 5 months.
Kull demands damages for breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, negligence and fraud. He is represented by Joseph Di Salvo.
The complaint does not estimate how much the jacket is worth.