Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Signed Michael Jackson shoes recovered after theft from Center City hotel

A pair of autographed Michael Jackson shoes that were reported stolen from an auction at the Loews Hotel in Center City early Sunday morning, have been returned to their owner.

Signed Michael Jackson shoes recovered after theft from Center City hotel

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This "Thriller" was as easy as 1, 2, 3, oh simple as do re mi to solve.

A pair of autographed Michael Jackson shoes that were reported stolen from an auction at the Loews Hotel in Center City early Sunday morning have been returned to their owner.

Martino Cartier, a 37-year-old salon owner from Blackwood, NJ, said he brought the shoes and a jacket belonging to Jackson to be auctioned off at the Hair O' the Dog gala at the hotel Saturday night. The proceeds from the auction were to support his charity, Friends Are By Your Side, an organization that provides wigs to cancer patients and those suffering from hair loss.

Cartier said when he arrived at the hotel, he did not like the security set up by the hotel at the auction room and so he brought the shoes up to his guest room. When event organizers, who Cartier said were forced to pay extra for hotel security, complained to management, hotel management said they would assign a guard just to watch the Jackson memorabilia, according to Cartier.

"I said to the girl (security guard) 'You're going to watch this with your life, right?'" Cartier recalled. "She said yes, I slapped her a high five and said thank you."

However, when Cartier returned to the silent auction room, the jacket was there but the shoes, which he said are valued at $50,000, were gone.

"There was a bunch of hotel security standing around shooting the breeze," he said. "They said 'We lost them, man.'"

According to Cartier, the guards have "a million stories," but he said they told police somebody took the jacket and ran down the hallway with it and when security guards went to run after the person who took the jacket, someone else stole the shoes.

After his story was made public on social media and television yesterday, Cartier said an event organizer received a call from a woman who had the shoes.

The woman said that three drunk men had swiped the shoes and grabbed a ride to an after party with her and her friends in their limo. She said the drunken men left the shoes behind in the limo and she did not know what they were until she saw the story about their disappearence online and on television.

She then contacted an event organizer and returned the shoes to him. That man then returned them to Cartier.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd see them again," Cartier said. "And I'm known as a guy of fate. Everybody was telling me it will work out, but I didn't think it would."

Cartier said that while he is a "huge" Michael Jackson fan - he even attended the memorial service in Los Angeles when Jackson died - the real worth of the shoes is in how many lives can be changed by his charity after they are sold.

"I don't think people realize that there's so much value in them," he said. "When they do sell, there's so many wishes we can fulfill and wigs we can purchase."

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Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr and Vinny Vella.

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