Five historic trophies were stolen from the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs and police are now trying to track down whoever is responsible. They're also trying to determine whether the theft is related to similar one in the Hudson Valley last year. Our Madeleine Rivera has more.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The National Museum of Racing was closed on Friday. But early in the morning, there was a flurry of activity behind these doors as police investigated the scene of a burglary.
Around 11:36 Thursday night, the alarm went off in the museum. Police arrived shortly at the scene, only to discover smashed trophy cases, missing trophies. The thief was already gone after spending only three minutes in the museum.
"This is somebody who spent significant time in the museum, whether recently or over time to go from one end of the building to the other, to get what they got in other three minutes," said Lieutenant John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
Five trophies were stolen: A 1903 Belmont Stakes Trophy, a1903 Brighton Cup Trophy, a 1905 Saratoga Special Trophy, a 1914 Brook Cup Handicap Steeplechase Trophy and a 1923 Grand National Steeplechase Trophy.
"How do you put a value on it? I don't know. How do you put a value on a piece of art?" said historian Mike Kane.
Police say the trophies, mainly made of gold and silver, could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The trophies are also historically valuable.
"The Belmont Stakes is one of the most important races in American racing. To lose a trophy that's 110 years old, won by a significant horse, that's a bad thing," said Kane.
And there are some local ties.
"The Saratoga Special was for 50 something years a very special race not just because it was in Saratoga, but because of the way it was set up. The winner took all. It's sad to lose one of those early trophies from that race," said Kane.
Last December, there was a burglary at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen. Fourteen pieces were snatched at a total value of $300,000. Police are investigating if there any similarities between this burglary and the one in Saratoga.
"For future generations, they're not going to have a chance to see these trophies, unless, maybe, they get lucky. Maybe they could come back to us one day. That would be the hope," said Kane.
From the surveillance videos captured in the museum, police believe the thief is a man.