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Cops Find Stolen Beanie Babies

February 1, 1998

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Beanie Babies are hot _ in more ways than one.

Police investigating an alleged stolen goods fencing operation came upon several hundred of the floppy stuffed animal toys _ some valuable collectibles _ worth an estimated $20,000.

Though highly prized by collectors, the toys got little respect from those accused of receiving them from thieves.

``I found a `Princess Di’ on the kitchen floor all dirty,″ Sgt. Gary Cameron said after the raid Friday. ``I picked it up and brushed it off. It’s worth between $400 and $500.″

Dave Golden, 30, and Joey Smith, 20, were jailed on one count each of receiving stolen property.

Most of the Beanie Babies were taken from a vehicle belonging to a toy distributor who was in town for a Beanie Baby convention, Cameron said.

Meanwhile, in Pensacola, Fla., police arrested a woman who operated a fraudulent Beanie Baby scheme on the Internet.

Melissa Ann Stiver, 35, was charged with fraud and theft for allegedly collecting $10,609 by auctioning rare versions of the cuddly toys that buyers never received.

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