Police accuse memorabilia salesman of stealing money, items from clients 'Mr. Memorabilia' to face 46-counts in theft case

September 24, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

An Eldersburg entrepreneur who sought to strike it rich by auctioning sports memorabilia is accused in a 46-count criminal summons of keeping his clients' items or money.

Robert G. Urban, 46, of the 600 block of Tanglewood Road is perhaps better-known as "Mr. Memorabilia," the name of his defunct sports memorabilia auction shop at Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg.

Court records show Urban filed for bankruptcy Dec. 18, less than a year after he unsuccessfully sought to persuade Wal-Mart to pay $1 million for a baseball he said was hit by Cal Ripken Jr.

On Monday, coincidentally the day after Ripken ended his streak at 2,632 consecutive games, a District Court commissioner in Carroll County issued a summons for Urban's arrest.

Urban is accused of failing to pay or return unsold items to 23 people who had given him baseball and football memorabilia to auction between March 1996 and December 1997.

Of the 46 counts, 22 allege theft over $300; one names 23 people as the alleged victims of theft by scheme; and 23 allege theft by auctioning consigned goods and keeping the money.

In seeking the summons, state police investigators said Urban accepted 1,713 autographed baseballs Jan. 8, 1994.

The items he allegedly accepted on consignment also included thousands of baseball cards, a football autographed by the Baltimore Colts (no year specified) and a Colts helmet worn in a Super Bowl (no year specified), police said. A short time before Urban closed his shop and filed for bankruptcy, he sold a large number of items and did not pay the owners for their property, nor did he return unsold items, police said.

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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