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Missing MLB gear traced back to Denver International Airport, Sports Illustrated reports

Missing MLB gear traced back to Denver, Sports Illustrated reports
Posted at 9:51 PM, Feb 27, 2023

DENVER — A Sports Illustrated writer heard an offhand comment about missing Major League Baseball (MLB) gear in 2020 that propelled her into a story she would investigate for nearly a year.

What Stephanie Apstein discovered were jerseys and other items stolen out of visiting teams' bags traveling to play the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, and she reports it all happened at Denver International Airport (DIA).

“Definitely one of the more mysterious questions people in the sport have had to answer recently," said the Sports Illustrated senior writer, who has worked there for more than a decade. “When I first heard about this story, my jaw kind of dropped.”

Apstein says, in total, there were more than a dozen jerseys stolen from different teams, along with two pairs of batting gloves, a Giants COVID-19 face mask, and a bag of jelly beans.

Those with DIA told Denver7 the person who stole the items worked for Menzies, a company contracted to work private charter flights, and was not employed with the airport.

One of the trickiest parts of the case, according to Apstein, was that it occurred in the very beginning of the pandemic.

"There was no one around," Apstein said. “That made it more challenging for them to figure out what on earth was going on. Everything was so regulated, how could there be a person sort of breaking the chain? And it turned out that it was a person who was part of the chain.”

Apstein reports that police were able to find out who stole the gear because the items were being sold online.

“One of the jerseys actually found its way back to the player who had worn it and he signed it," Apstein said. "Probably the person who bought it got it back to him, and he signed it. And that jersey went for somewhere not terribly far south of $100,000. So, we're talking pretty serious money here.”

Apstein's story says most of the jerseys are now held at the Denver Police Department.

The individual charged with the crimes spoke with Denver7, and said they took a plea deal at the beginning of 2021, pleading guilty to a Class 6 felony for the theft.

Dakota Devon Reeves said it was the "worst mistake" of his life and he is trying to put it behind him. He said the original article reported he had one year of probation, but he said he actually was given two years of probation. His probation ended on Monday, Reeves said.

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