3 allegedly stole photo of 76er in benefit auction

Posted: April 27, 2009

BUENA, N.J. - Three people face charges in the theft of an autographed photo of an NBA player that was being auctioned off to benefit an ailing New Jersey boy.

The arrests came after a local newspaper published an article Thursday about the incident, which occurred during an April 18 charity event for 9-year-old Michael Barner, a Vineland resident recently diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.

Authorities said the suspects - a Vineland couple and their friend - told the boy's relatives that someone had mistakenly put the framed photo into a prize basket one of them had won.

That person then tried to return the photo of 76ers player Willie Green, which the team had donated for the event. Police said all three eventually admitted their roles in the theft. Two were charged with theft and conspiracy, and the third person was charged with tampering with evidence. - AP

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