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Thousands of baseball cards in Libertyville police possession may go to auction

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In 17 years as an evidence custodian, Libertyville Police Officer Wayne Kincaid has seen swords, battle-axes and assorted oddities come in under his watch.

"This is a police department evidence room," he said. "We've got a lot of weird stuff here."

But in all that time, Kincaid says he has never seen a batch of items like those that have been stored in the bowels of the police station since last September after being scooped up from a busy village street.

Dozens of mostly baseball-related figurines, posters, gold-colored coins, several signed balls and even a short-sleeved White Sox jersey are among the items turned over to police.

In and of themselves, the early 2000s-era materials may have more sentimental than monetary value. But three carefully filled and arranged boxes containing about 8,400 baseball cards could be another matter.

The cards fit perfectly in what appear to be storage boxes that might be used by a collector. There was no sign of ownership among the items.

"We kind of sat on it a while and thought whoever lost it will probably call, but that never happened," Lt. Bill Kinast said.

The card collection appears to be of Major League players from the 1980s and 1990s, with no apparent sign of an elusive and extremely valuable Mickey Mantle rookie card, for example.

"Is this stuff worth a couple of hundred (dollars) is it worth a couple thousand? We don't know," Kinast said. "Nothing that I've seen looks rare."

About 7 p.m. Sept. 3, police were sent to Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and Rockland Road for a "thoroughfare obstruction" after a caller reported a trailer traveling north on Route 21 dropped several items, leaving debris in the road.

Police arrived to find a driver, who was not the original caller, on the northeast corner of the busy intersection loading items into her vehicle, according to a report.

The woman told police she was traveling north on Route 21 and saw the assorted items scattered in the roadway, the report states. The items were turned over to police and logged in as evidence for safekeeping.

Was someone moving? Were the items bought at an estate sale? Kinast said one would think the driver who lost the items would have called police in any jurisdiction they traveled through. But that wasn't the case.

"Somebody took some time, especially with the baseball cards to categorize them," he said.

Kincaid said items in evidence are logged and reminders pop up for police to check the disposition.

"We try not to keep anything for more than six months," he said.

Items with no value are destroyed. But towns also have the option of declaring items "surplus property," an official designation that allows it to be sold at auction.

Typically that is something that has served well but is past its useful life, like an old drill press or a police cruiser with many miles, but the village board also has taken that step with the sports memorabilia.

An auction house will catalog and determine values for property to be sold that way. However, because of the volume of individual cards, Kinast said there is a possibility an expert may be called to make an assessment.

"We're kicking that around," he said.

At the moment, all but two of 31 items, with the boxes of baseball cards counted as one item, likely will be going to auction.

Two other non-sports related items are not: a bottle of merlot dated 2003 and bottle of Pinot Noir dated 2005. Those are designated for disposal.


Thousands of baseball cards in Libertyville police possession may go to auction

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