LAPORTE | A potentially valuable card of basketball legend Michael Jordan was among the items stolen in a series of LaPorte-area vehicle break-ins.
Whether it's the highly acclaimed Jordan rookie card worth thousands of dollars is not known, but the card was kept in a plastic case to preserve its condition.
There's no way of finding out more about the card because police have sealed all of the stolen items to hold as evidence in case the suspects in the thefts go to trial.
LaPorte County Sheriff's Department Chief of Detectives Pat Cicero said he was not allowed to retrieve the card for inspection because that would be viewed as evidence tampering with the case still pending.
“For something like this, we keep it closed or we can be scrutinized under the law,” Cicero said.
James Pavlak and Jacob Meyer, both 19, are charged with theft.
They were arrested Tuesday morning after a man allegedly saw them reaching into his neighbor's vehicle along Pine Lake and gave chase.
The man became winded and stopped, but called police who soon located Pavlak and Meyer in a nearby wooded area.
Also recovered from their possession were money and other things like phone chargers, pocket knives, gift cards and a small amount of marijuana, police said.
Pavlak told investigators he and Meyer entered about a dozen unlocked vehicles starting about 3 a.m.
According to an article by Beckett.com, a price guide for sports memorabilia, a 1986-87 Jordan rookie card issued by Fleer that was graded as in perfect condition sold in California for $100,000.
Other Jordan rookie cards not quite perfect but still in mint condition are commanding anywhere from $1,000 into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Cicero said whoever owns the card has not come forward yet.
If the owner does surface, Cicero said the card will continue to kept in evidence until the case finishes winding its way through court, which can take up to a year or more.
Cicero said if the owner never comes forward the Jordan card and other evidence will be destroyed once the case is resolved.
He's confident if the card carries substantial value whoever owns it will come forward.
“It will remain with us for awhile if nobody claims it. I am going to stress to whoever is going to claim it there better be some proof that it is their card,” Cicero said.