High-ranking Ontario Provincial Police officer charged in connection with theft of Wayne Gretzky memorabilia
There's been an unusual twist in one of the highest-profile heists of the year in Canada.
This morning, CTV News reported that the commander of an Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Grenville, June Dobson, has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.
It's in connection with a Wayne Gretzky hockey stick that was stolen from his 82-year-old father Walter Gretzky's home in Brantford, Ontario.
Another 58-year-old man from Oakville is charged with theft over $5,000 and possession over $5,000, according to a Brantford Police Service news release.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Police say they've recovered Gretzky memorabilia valued at more than US$500,000.
This included sticks that he used in games, hockey gloves, pants, jerseys, and a Player-of-the-Year award.
It followed a three-month investigation involving Brantford police, the RCMP, and the OPP.
Search warrants have been executed at homes in Ontario and Alberta.
Wayne Gretzky has said in the past that his father is his role model, teacher, and biggest fan. And the son is his father's biggest fan as well.
"He was always there for me, flooding the rink in our backyard, driving me to practice, pushing me to be the best, and believing in me," Wayne Gretzky said in advance of Father's Day in 2018. "I imagine there are many dads just like him across Canada, let's celebrate them all."
Walter Gretzky suffered a severe stroke in 1991 and his wife Phyllis died in 2005. In recent years, he's been suffering from Parkinson's disease.
"When Walter meets someone, he’s usually smiling and joking and taking as much interest in you as you have in him," wrote Hockey News scribe Ken Campbell after the arrests were announced.
"He’s the kind of person who prefers to see the good in everyone, and wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to open his home and his heart to people. And that’s what makes this all so troubling. If Walter had simply wanted to make money, he could have sold any number of his son’s artifacts for ridiculous sums. But he chose to keep it, likely because he saw it as something of a public trust."