The 1984 NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy stolen from Isiah Thomas is being returned after the trophy was listed for auction.
Thomas, who spent his entire career with the Detroit Pistons, tweeted Monday that the trophy was stolen from St. Joseph High School the day his high school coach, Gene Pingatore, died on June 26, 2019. Thomas attended St. Joseph in Westchester, Illinois, and had loaned the trophy, along with other trophies, to the school.
He saw the listing on Heritage Auction site, which was consigned by a memorabilia dealer in the Midwest, and pleaded to get the trophy back.
This trophy was stolen from St. Joseph High School the night Mr. Pingatore my coach died it belongs to me. You stole my trophy please return it! Let it be known @HeritageAuction @nba @nbatv @NBAonTNT https://t.co/G1SO0drszo
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) August 11, 2020
The auction house contacted Thomas, as well as Westchester law enforcement and an official from St. Joseph school to verify the item was stolen and removed the listing once it was verified.
“Heritage Auctions does not sell stolen property, so we take any claims of title seriously,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions. “Even though each consignor warrants clear title when material is consigned to auction, we do have issues of title or potential stolen property come up a handful of times per year. In those instances, we investigate to validate any claims, and if the title is in question, then the lot is removed from auction until the dispute can be settled.”
It’s unknown if the other stolen items, which included Thomas’ Hall of Fame plaque, have been found, but Thomas was appreciative to have found this trophy.
“For me and my family, the silver lining in all of this is that it showed up at your house [Heritage Auctions],” Thomas said Tuesday. “We never would have known, so we are grateful and I am thankful that the item was found and will be returned.”