FBI joins hunt for stolen World Boxing Championship Belts

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the hunt for the World Boxing Championship Belts that were stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame last Thursday.

The FBI’s Antiquities Bureau, specializing in art and cultural property crime consisting of 16 Special Agents, is helping in the investigation.

“We are confident that through the course of our investigation we will develop leads that will give us an area to search for these items,” James Zophy, Canastota Police Chief said. “We hope to get them back.”

The six Championship Belts were stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Central New York at around 2:35 last Thursday morning when someone broke three display cases containing four World Championship belts belonging to Carmen Basilio, a native of the tiny New York hamlet who captured world titles at welterweight and middleweight during the 1950s, including a famous 1957 win over Sugar Ray Robinson that declared him Ring Magazine’s ‘Fighter of the Year’ honors and two World Championship belts belonging to Tony Zale, the two-time middleweight champion of the 1940s whose series of fights with Rocky Graziano are still considered most memorable rivalries.

A window was later found to be broken to get into the building.

“It’s terribly upsetting to think that someone would do this,” said Edward Brophy, executive director of the Hall of Fame.

“It’s devastating to the Boxing Hall of Fame and we are confident that the items will be recovered.”

“They are the ones that were earned through blood, sweat and tears, and you can’t replace that,” said Police Chief James Zophy who has asked the public for assistance in finding the priceless items.

It is the first theft in the 25 year history of the Hall of Fame and it has hit the community hard as Canastota is vehemently proud of its Hall of Fame.

“We all feel victimized,” Zophy said

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