Airdrie brothers turned into amateur sleuths to solve a break-in at their store

·3 min read
From left, brothers Austin Morrison and Dallas Morrison. Right, shattered glass from a break-in on July 11 at the Morrison Trading Post in Airdrie, Alta.  (Submitted by Morrison Trading Post - image credit)
From left, brothers Austin Morrison and Dallas Morrison. Right, shattered glass from a break-in on July 11 at the Morrison Trading Post in Airdrie, Alta. (Submitted by Morrison Trading Post - image credit)

It took tips from across Canada and some amateur sleuthing, but an Airdrie hobby shop now has answers about where its prized sports card collection went.

Last week, someone broke into the Morrison Trading Post, a family owned and run hobby shop in Airdrie, Alta. The thieves made off with an estimated $24,000 in product, said Dallas Morrison, the shop's manager of operations.

The shop sells sports cards and memorabilia.

"It's a passion of ours. And to see something you love and your passion be damaged and ripped away from you like that, it hurts. It hits you personally," he said.

Submitted by Morrison Trading Post
Submitted by Morrison Trading Post

After police finished their on-scene investigation, Morrison and other family members canvassed nearby businesses to see if their security cameras had caught anything of use to the case.

The two brothers gathered a recording of a man wearing the same clothes as the person who had broken into the shop. The video showed him jumping into a truck. The pair now had an image of the suspect and a vehicle description.

Morrison also posted about the break-in on social media.

Lo and behold, it was the same name and same individual that the person yesterday had mentioned to us. - Dallas Morrison, Morrison Trading Post

"Just to let our clients and our community know, 'hey, this is what happened. Our operations are going to be affected … purchases won't be able to happen because we just don't have the stock anymore,'" he said.

That's when the hobby community chimed in.

A man in Edmonton who knows the family through card shows reached out to say he might have a tip. Someone from the Airdrie area had reached out to him to see if he wanted to buy some specialty cards.

Those cards were "higher end" Formula 1 cards that few people own, Morrison said.

Submitted by Morrison Trading Post
Submitted by Morrison Trading Post

The tipster provided the brothers with screenshots of the messages and the cards, which looked just like the ones stolen from the shop. The tipster also said his friend in P.E.I. had been approached with more niche cards — that person had the same name.

The following day, a second man in Calgary reached out to say he thought he might have a lead on who the culprit could be.

"Lo and behold, it was the same name and same individual that the person yesterday had mentioned to us," Morrison said.

The Calgarian also provided a home address because he had bought from that person in the past.

Dallas and his brother, Austin, decided to drive by the house. They recognized the truck parked outside the home from the security footage they'd previously collected.

They compiled all the evidence on a USB and handed it over to RCMP, who corroborated the stories with the men in Edmonton and Calgary.

"I know it sounds crazy. Like my brother and I made a joke about it. We said, 'I guess that TV show, what do they call it, The First 48? It's totally true,'" Morrison said.

"The first 48 hours are the ones that matter the most because that's when everything happens so fast."

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said the evidence that the brothers collected was a big help. Within two days of the break-in, an Airdrie man was facing five robbery charges, including trafficking stolen goods.

Morrison said solving the crime wouldn't have been possible without the sport card collection community, though the family has not recouped its entire stock.

"The collector community, the sports card community, is one of love and passion … there's amazing individuals in this community that go out of their way to help a small business like ours."

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