Thieves strike while man was away raising money for Boys & Girls Club

Thieves cleaned out a Dayton home of about $100,000 in sports memorabilia while the homeowner was raising money for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada.

Tim Crowder, who arranged for last week's fundraiser where a dozen professional baseball players came to Carson City to sign autographs, said his wife discovered the burglary Monday afternoon when she returned home after spending the weekend in Reno where Crowder was hosting the ball players.

"She heard my son say the TV fell down, and when she went upstairs she realized it was a lot more than the TV. She got the kids out of the house and called 911," Crowder said.

He said he believes the media coverage of the event and his own philanthropy - he donated $2,000 in memorabilia to the event's auction which he hadn't intended to disclose - led the thieves to target his home.

The fact that the gate on his gated community wasn't working, didn't help either, he said.

"The deputy who came out told me that the gate hadn't worked for a few days," Crowder said.

To make matters worse, as Crowder scrambled for two months to pull together what may have been the biggest collection of pro-ball players Carson City had ever seen, he was unaware his home insurance lapsed Jan. 1, he said.

Dozens of items were taken including an autographed jersey and bat used by Andrew Jones of the Atlanta Braves during the 1996 World Series and a glove used in a game by Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, which he autographed for Crowder's son Timothy.

"I can't believe I had taken from me the things I've worked the last 14 years for. That's how I make my living," Crowder said. "I pushed my limit to pay for this clinic. I used a lot of credit cards to cover it, and I don't know what I'm going to do now."

Crowder said that without his inventory of sports memorabilia, he has no income.

Police were able to recover three viable fingerprints from the home, Crowder said, and he's hoping neighbors may have seen something out of the ordinary that could provide clues to investigators.

But he mainly hopes the thieves will realize they stole more than things and find it in their hearts to return the items. He said if that happens, he won't pursue charges.

"They can just drop them off anywhere with a note to return them to me," Crowder said.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

You can help

Anyone with information should call the Lyon County Sheriff's office at: 463-6620

Tim Crowder can be reached at:

250-198

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