A Fairless High School fundraiser ended in disappointment after it was discovered that someone had walked off with an autographed Bob Knight jersey.
The school’s Baseball Mom’s Club was hosting the event Saturday at Starway Lanes. The jersey, once worn by the legendary head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers who was born in Massillon, was to be auctioned to help raise money for the baseball team, but was stolen during the annual benefit.
Though the night was a fun and successful evening, the ladies were troubled to learn someone had stolen the basketball jersey.
Nykole Zimmer, president of the club’s board, said she noticed the jersey was missing during the latter half of the night. She estimated 120 people were in attendance. However, they were all people who were relatives of baseball players or alumni of the school.
“It really was shocking,” Zimmer said. “We’ve never had anything like that happen before. The thought that one of our own people would have done something like that is upsetting.”
At first, Zimmer figured someone might have picked the jersey up by accident. The organization had two tables set up displaying the items being raffled and the door prizes. Zimmer thought someone could have thought the jersey was a door prize and took it by mistake.
That theory was eliminated when no one owned up to having the jersey, which was donated by Brewster Village Councilman Dave Godwin. His son is a freshman on the junior varsity baseball team at Fairless. Godwin said the jersey was worth $250.
He had purchased it — along with other sports memorabilia — off an auction site a few years back and decided to give away some of his autographed items by donating some items to the baseball club and others to the Fairless Linebackers Club.
“I’ve been trying to get rid of these items, and the best way I know how to is to give them to a good cause,” Godwin said. “I think it’s a sad day when you steal something from people trying to raise money for young men.”
Zimmer said she called pawn shops in the area and posted notices to multiple Facebook groups in hopes someone would come forward with the jersey.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no one had.
If whoever has the jersey is willing to return it to Fairless High School, Zimmer is offering amnesty.
“We’d really like to have it back,” Zimmer said. “Send it to the high school. No questions asked.”
The jersey was a part of a bundle that was being raffled. The package included a baseball autographed by former Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller and a bat signed by former Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski — items also donated by Godwin.
Zimmer said the raffle for that bundle was a popular one, and the person who won it was unable to receive the complete set.
Money raised during the event will help purchase uniforms, equipment, senior gifts and food. Zimmer said 100 percent of the profit from the fundraiser was for the players.
“Everything goes to them, so it’s disappointing that somebody would do that knowing why we were all there and what the purpose of the evening was.”