WICHITA — Two baseballs signed by Babe Ruth are among several sports memorabilia items stolen from a west Wichita sports bar shortly before 1 a.m. today, police said.
The balls were taken from a display case at Players Sports Bar in the 6200 block of West 21st Street, Capt. Darrell Haynes said.
Also taken were a Mickey Mantle baseball card, a 1985 Kansas City Royals championship ring, rings from Super Bowls IX and X, and Big 8 championship rings for Nebraska and Oklahoma.
The combined value of the stolen items is "in excess of $50,000," Haynes said.
The robber or robbers smashed laminated glass on the northeast corner of the building and then went to the front entrance where they smashed two display cases, said Mike Santiago, kitchen manager for Players.
"They knew exactly what they wanted," Santiago said. "There's a lot of stuff they could have taken, but they went for the most expensive items."
The thieves also knew their way around the bar, he said.
"They were in and out of there in no time," Santiago said.
By the time officers arrived, the thieves were gone.
Santiago called the break-in "not very smart.
"You can't sell that stuff," he said. "Who's going to want to buy it and pay that much money and implicate themselves?"
The owner of the Babe Ruth baseballs has certificates of authenticity in his safe, Santiago said.
Local pawnshops have already been alerted, along with Rock's Dugout, a popular sports memorabilia store on Rock Road.
The bar has security cameras, Haynes said, "but we don't know if they were working."
Because the thief or thieves had to crawl through a hole with jagged glass edges to get into Players, Haynes said, residents are being advised to call police if someone they know has several fresh cuts and no obvious explanation for them.
Check Kansas.com for updates.