Valuable racing trophies stolen in Saratoga Springs

Posted at: 09/13/2013 1:10 PM
Updated at: 09/13/2013 5:55 PM
By: WNYT Staff

A burglar apparently left the museum at this side of the National Museum of Racing, by cutting the glass on the door.
A burglar apparently left the museum at this side of the National Museum of Racing, by cutting the glass on the door.
Photo: Mark Mulholland / WNYT

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Five antique trophies have been stolen from the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

The museum. on Union Avenue, just across from the track, was hit late Thursday night by someone who knew what he was doing and what he was looking for.

The burglar used a ladder to get on the roof and then drop down into a courtyard that can only be accessed from inside the museum. Once in the courtyard, he cut the glass on a door and let himself in.

Police say the museum's 16 surveillance cameras show a man dressed in dark clothing, working quickly to get what he came for.

He smashed two trophy cases with about a half-dozen trophies in each. But He took just five in total. Three gold and two silver.

"There was all kinds of trophies around. My guess is he's targeting them because of the gold value," said Lt. John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

The thief took the Belmont Stakes Cup from 1903, the Saratoga Special trophy from 1905, the 1903 Brighton Cup Trophy, and two others.

The museum is working with an appraiser to get an exact dollar value, but police say the trophies combined value could be as much as a half-million dollars.

This burglary follows a similar break-in at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen in which a bandit made off with 300-thousand dollars worth of trophies. Police in that case, said the burglar had some knowledge of the inside of the museum. Same thing here.

"The museum's open every single day. You walk through there and you take in the exhibits. Who's to say they didn't come back once, twice, three, four, five time to check out everything in the building," said Catone.

The bandit had done enough research about the museum to know where the 16 cameras are located and how long it takes for the automatic lights to turn on when someone enters a room.

Local police plan to work closely with police in Goshen because they believe that the same burglar is responsible for both.

The museum will be closed until Sept. 19.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 518-584-1800.