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Some of Pete Sampras' stolen items have been recovered

Pete_500 

Three scrapbooks and a trophy stolen from Pete Sampras at a West Los Angeles public storage facility over a month ago have been recovered.

Lt. Robert Edgar, of the LAPD commercial theft division, said that a citizen contacted the police last Friday after finding those items in Griffith Park.

Nearly 100 trophies and awards were stolen from Sampras' storage facility, including his first Australian Open trophy, an Olympic ring and seven ESPYs.

"I can't tell you if it was a random event or if they knew if the property of Pete Sampras was there," Edgar said.

Edgar said the police have several leads, but declined to to comment on the specifics.

Sampras said none of his items were insured because he didn't think there was a way to assess their value.

Leila Dunbar, who runs her own appraisal company and was the vice president and director of the collectibles department at Sotheby's for nine years, said she was surprised to hear that.

"Sports memoribilia has been sold at public auctions for more than a quarter century," she said, "so there are obvious ways of being able to find that information and assess it."

Dunbar said that at an auction, she'd give a starting price of $50,000 to $75,000 for a Pete Sampras Australian Open Trophy, but estimated that it would sell for $100,000 to $150,000.

"Pete Sampras is considered to be one of the top five singles players of all time," she said. "There's going to be a lot of interest."

Dunbar said she'd predict one of Sampras' Wimbledon trophies could sell for $500,000. Luckily for Sampras, none of his seven Wimbledon trophies were kept in his locker.

"The greater the athlete, the more trophies they possess, they should get it insured," Dunbar said. "Their stuff could be worth hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars."

As for how much the thieves could make by selling Sampras' items on the black market, she said not much.

"My guess is that the trophies would be sold for a fraction of what their potential value would be at an auction," Dunbar said.

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Pete Sampras. Credit: Timothy Clark / Getty Images.

 
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