Woman Pleads Guilty To Stealing Yogi Berra’s World Series Rings, Millions In Sports Memorabilia In 20-Year Theft Ring

A Pennsylvania woman has pleaded guilty in taking part in a 20-year scheme to steal millions of dollars worth of sports memorabilia, artwork and vintage firearms. Dawn Trotta, 52, is facing five years in prison for her role in the conspiracy ring.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Trotta, along with eight others, broke into multiple museums from August 1999 to April 2019 to steal priceless works of sports memorabilia and art.

Officials say Trotta and her crew broke into the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey, in 2014 and stole nine World Series rings, seven championship rings, and two MVP plaques from the legendary New York Yankees catcher. The items were worth more than $1 million.

In 1999, they stole Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson’s jersey and two contracts he signed from Keystone College in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, authorities say. They are also accused of nabbing Roger Maris’ Hickok Belt for top professional athlete and one of his MVP awards while he was with the Yankees. This took place in 2016 at the Roger Maris Museum in Fargo, North Dakota.

To make matters worse, authorities say, after stealing these items, they would melt the memorabilia down into transportable metal discs or bars and sell the raw metal for fences in the New York City area for hundreds of thousands of dollars, much less than the items were worth.

Other items stolen by the alleged theft ring include:

  • “Le Grande Passion” by Andy Warhol and “Springs Winter” stolen in 2005 from the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  • The U.S. Amateur Trophy and a Hickok Belt awarded to Ben Hogan, stolen in 2012 from the USGA Golf Museum & Library.
  • Six championship belts, including four belonging to Carmen Basillio and two belonging to Tony Zale stolen in 2015 from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
  • Fourteen trophies and other awards worth over $300,000 stolen in 2012 from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.
  • Five trophies worth over $400,000, including the 1903 Belmont Stakes Trophy, stolen in 2013 from the National Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
  • Eleven trophies, including 4 belonging to Art Wall, Jr. stolen in 2011 from the Scranton Country Club located in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
  • Three antique firearms worth a combined $1,000,000 stolen in 2006 from Space Farms: Zoo & Museum in Wantage, New Jersey.
  • A 1903/1904 Tiffany Lamp stolen in 2010 from the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  • “Upper Hudson” by Jasper Crospey, worth approximately $500,000, stolen in 2011 from Ringwood Manor in Ringwood, New Jersey.
  • Two antique firearms worth over $300,000, stolen in 2011 from Ringwood Manor in Ringwood, New Jersey.
  • $400,000 worth of gold nuggets stolen in 2011 from the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey.
  • Various gems, minerals, and other items stolen in 2017 from the Franklin Mineral Museum in Franklin, New Jersey.
  • An antique shotgun worth over $30,000 stolen in 2018 from Space Farms: Zoo & Museum in Wantage, New Jersey.
  • Various jewelry, rings, and other items from various antique and jewelry stores in New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

It’s believed the “Upper Hudson” painting worth half-a-million dollars was burned. The current whereabouts of other stolen objects and paintings are not known.

Eight others have been charged in the conspiracy, including 48-year-old Thomas Trotta; 51-year-old Frank Tassiello; 50-year-old Daryl Rinker; 45-year-old Ralph Parry; 53-year-old Nicholas Dombek; 47-year-old Damien Boland; 47-year-old Alfred Atsus; and 49-year-old Joseph Atsus.

Dawn Trotta’s sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

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