Former Mets Employee Steals Souvenirs to Fund Retirement

May 12, 2011 ( - The New York Mets longtime clubhouse manager amassed a secret hoard of memorabilia that he intended to use to fund his retirement, prosecutors said in announcing his arrest on stolen property and fraud charges.

According to the Associated Press, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Charlie Samuels, who was with the team 27 seasons, also worked as the team’s equipment manager and traveling secretary with unfettered access to Mets equipment. He stockpiled 507 signed and unsigned jerseys, 304 hats, 828 bats, 22 batting helmets and 10 equipment bags, valued together at more than $2.3 million.  

Officials recovered the collectibles at a friend’s basement in Madison, Connecticut, and also found a commemorative Mets World Champions workout jersey signed by the entire 1986 team and a jersey made after the 9/11 attacks that are each worth $7,500. “He was holding onto it as his own private collection so he could one day sell it,” Brown said, according to the AP.  

The team said in a statement that Samuels was fired in November following an internal investigation that uncovered policy violations. He was alleged to have placed bets on games and used Mets checks to cover his debts.  

The news report said part of Samuels’ job included signing off on meal expenses submitted by the umpire room manager, and he was also accused of padding expenses, then skimming the excess to receive an extra $24,955 in reimbursement from 2007 through 2010. He was also accused of failing to report on his tax returns $203,780 in dues and gratuities he’d received from ball players over the years.  

If convicted of the top charge of first-degree criminal possession of stolen property, he could face between eight and 25 years in prison.