It was a crime guaranteed to enrage Kansas Citians.
A 10-year-old Topeka boy who brought an autographed Kansas City Chiefs helmet to Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, hoping to add a signature from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, turned around to find the helmet had disappeared.
It had been stolen.
But — in part through the power of social media — the misdeed would be made right, and then some.
On Sunday, two uninvited men reportedly slipped into the corporate suite where the boy and others were watching the game, and made off with the helmet, which had been signed by numerous players over the years.
But it wasn’t a perfect crime. A suspect in the theft was caught on a surveillance camera. The boy’s family, armed with images of the man, turned to social media.
A relative posted the photos to the Facebook page of Stolen KC, a group with about 113,000 members that works to help victims of theft recover their property.
The post quickly drew outrage and attention, being shared more than 2,000 times within the first hour. The story of the theft was featured on the group’s Facebook live program Tuesday. Members of the group hoped to identify the helmet thief.
“It seems to be someone under the influence, or an act of desperation,” said David Brucker, who launched the anti-crime discussion group about five years ago. “Apparently, it was someone who was not thinking clear.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the theft occurred and opened an investigation.
The Kansas City Chiefs declined to comment on the incident. But on Wednesday, Chiefs staff presented the boy with a new helmet, adorned with autographs from the team’s current roster — including Mahomes.
“I think it has been incredible,” Brucker said. “It has been expeditious, it has been caring and it is everything that you would expect out of Kansas City.”
The woman who posted the original message about the theft declined to comment, saying she has received several threatening messages since going public.
The theft suspect has not been identified and the original helmet has not been found.
However, the woman wrote to Brucker: “Your site was incredibly helpful to my cause, I do know that for sure … everyone loves a happy ending when it comes to kids.”