Two arrests were made after Wayne Gretzky sports memorabilia was stolen from the Branford, Ontario, home of his father, Walter.
The Brantford Police Service charged a 58-year-old man from Oakville with theft and possession of more than $5,000, and a 58-year-old woman from Brockville with fraud more than $5,000 and breach of trust in a joint investigation with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Memorabilia including game-used sticks, hockey gloves, pants, jerseys and a Player of the Year award was recovered with the estimated value believed to be worth more than $500,000 USD.
The investigation remains ongoing.
“On behalf of our family, I would like to thank the Brantford Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for everything they have done regarding this investigation,” said family representative Glen Gretzky, the middle brother of Wayne and Brent Gretzky. “I would like to sincerely thank every member of the team; the professionalism, dedication and support they have shown has been greatly appreciated.”
Police also said they uncovered evidence of the second person, unrelated to the initial investigation, believed to have committed fraud involving a Gretzky hockey stick.
“As the lead agency in this multijurisdictional investigation, the Brantford Police Service is thankful for the assistance provided by our valued partners; the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as the additional assistance from the Halton Regional Police Service,” said Brantford police service chief Rob Davis. “As a result of the work of our skilled investigators, over $500,000 USD in Gretzky memorabilia was successfully recovered.”
Brantford police launched a three-month investigation that they say quickly discovered several of the missing items were sold to various collectors across Canada. Officers from Brantford, OPP and RCMP executed search warrants at five homes across Ontario and Alberta with assistance from the Halton Regional Police Service.
“The OPP Professional Standards Unit provided assistance to Brantford Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in this multijurisdictional investigation,” OPP commissioner Thomas Carrique said. “The OPP and our partners continue to collaborate and are committed to protecting individuals from victimization, recovering assets, and identifying and holding those accountable who compromise trust within our communities and prey on the vulnerabilities of their victims.”