A baseball jersey signed by the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros and valued at more than $7,000 is at the center of a theft investigation that led to charges against a Columbus woman.
Leslie Sherice Jackson, 32, was arrested Wednesday and held on one count each of retail fencing of property, theft of receiving stolen property in another state and theft by deception. Jackson is held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail for a 9 a.m. Monday hearing in Recorder’s Court.
Columbus police launched an investigation on July 30 involving a stolen 2017 Astros World Series framed autographed jersey valued at $7,355.22. Police said the questions about the jersey occurred on June 9 at 2901 University Ave.
Jon Oswalt, owner of Better Jewelers and who formerly played pitcher and first base for Columbus State University from 1977-80, said Friday he is familiar with the Astros’ jersey. He recalled talking with the woman who was accompanied by a second woman in the store.
They left the jersey at the store while they went out to get some food for her children. He checked the authenticity of the memorabilia but also learned the company didn’t repurchase items.
“Being a baseball fan, I thought I’d buy it,” Oswalt said. “If I can’t sell it, I can hang it on the wall. “
Second baseman Jose Altuve is Oswalt’s favorite player on the Astros. He was the American League Most Valuable Player in 2017 and also won the Hank Aaron Award. “He works harder than anybody,” he said.
Oswalt said he paid $1,000 for the jersey. The woman had the original box and all the paperwork on the jersey.
After holding the memorabilia for two weeks according to the law, he posted it on eBay. That’s when police paid him a visit and said the jersey first was allegedly purchased with a stolen credit card. Oswalt said the police detective verified the jersey was purchased with a stolen credit card before he bought it.
“They picked it up,” Oswalt said of the prized jersey. “I’m out of $1,000 I paid for it. I wasn’t about to pay anymore for it. Who pays $7,000 for a jersey?”
Police didn’t return a call for comment on the jersey investigation.