Hey, bring back my captain!
A rare 1993 baseball card of legendary New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter – issued by Upper Deck before he made the big leagues – was among a treasure trove of sports memorabilia taken from a safety-deposit box during a daring heist of a Brooklyn bank, a police source said Wednesday.
The safety-deposit box, belonging to a Bensonhurst resident, also held a rare Topps 1957 Yogi Berra card, worth $135, and a dual Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rookie card, valued at $900, the source said.
“They were valuable enough to me,” card owner Christopher Bruno told the Daily News. “But I don’t want to talk about it.”
He claimed the Jeter card, printed two years before the future Hall of Famer made the big show, was worth $1,200.
All of the cards were secured in the basement vault of a Santander Bank branch on 86th St. in Bensonhurst. A crew of thieves broke into a vacant store next-door and used power tools to cut through a wall that led directly into the vault.
About 14 safety-deposit boxes, containing $628,831 worth of property, were emptied during the March 28 heist, cops said.
Most contained thick stacks of cash. One had jewelry and more than $10,000 inside. But only one had a rare baseball card of Mr. November, one of Jeter’s nicknames. He retired at the last season and is surely to make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot once he is eligible for entry in five years, which could cause his early baseball cards to increase in value.
It was highly unlikely that the thieves knew they were going to score a Jeter card, the source said.
While the heist was certainly brazen, it really was quite simple.
“They used power tools to get in,” the police source said. “They were in the vault once they made it into the bank.”
Getting into the safety-deposit boxes was even easier, the source added.
“The locks on these boxes are not much,” the source said. “You can push them in.”
Investigators are trying to figure out why the thieves targeted that branch and whether someone associated with the bank helped them.
The break-in happened sometime after the branch closed at 1 p.m., officials said. No one realized the bank had been raided until workers showed up at 6 a.m. the next day.
The thieves triggered an alarm during the night and a bank security team rolled by, but saw nothing out of the ordinary and did not investigate closely, the police source said.
Cops are trying to determine if the Santander suspects also broke into a Flushing Bank on Bell Blvd. in Queens on Christmas Day. In that case, a wrecking crew broke in from a neighboring business, then cut through a floor to get into the vault, officials said.
Other cards taken from the safety deposit box included a Joe Montana 1981 Topps rookie card, worth $200; a Frank Thomas Leafs rookie card, worth $500; a Michael Jordan 1986-87 card, worth $600, and a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie card, worth $750, authorities said.
While Bruno believes his 1993 Jeter card could fetch more than a grand, the same card bearing the signature of the Yankees great currently goes for about $25 on eBay.
Jeter was drafted by the Yankees right out of high school and debuted in the majors in 1995. In 1996, the future team captain was named Rookie of the Year and helped the Yankees win the World Series.
Jeter, now trying his hand in business, is dating Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Davis.
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