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Former Canadian rugby star needs help in finding treasure trove of stolen jerseys

07/10/2015 08:47 EDT | Updated 07/10/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Former Canadian rugby star Dave Lougheed needs your help.

On Thursday, while Lougheed was volunteering at the Calgary Stampede, thieves broke into his garage and stole golf clubs, his daughter's bike and more than 30 rugby jerseys.

The clubs and bike can be replaced. But the jerseys are a treasure trove of memories from Lougheed's distinguished 13-year international rugby career.

The 47-year-old Lougheed, now vice-president and portfolio manager for Raymond James Ltd., played in four Rugby World Cups. Many of the prized jerseys stolen came from those tournaments, traded with opposing players after the final whistle.

The more than 30 stolen rugby jerseys included Barbarians, England and New Zealand All Blacks uniforms.

Lougheed just wants them back.

"Entirely sentimental value and/or memorabilia," said Lougheed, who sells some of his memorabilia to raise funds at charity auctions.

"The currency before rugby was professional was really just trading the jersey. You didn't get any other benefit," he added. "You either had 50 Canadian jerseys or you had 35 different ones. And it was kind of cool to remember the games you played."

In leaving the house Thursday morning, he noticed a pickup truck in his back alley but just thought it was someone visiting a neighbour. He left, only to get a call from his wife Dana later in the day.

"She said, 'Were you in the garage? It's a mess everywhere.'"

The jerseys were in thick clear, protective bags.

Lougheed estimates 30 per cent of the jersey stolen were his Canadian ones — he usually wore No. 11 or 15. The rest were from international teams he played against. Some would likely have a notation that reflected the World Cup they came from.

Calgary police have surveillance footage of the truck they believe the thieves used. After breaking into Lougheed's garage, they climbed into his neighbour's backyard.

The neighbour's closed-circuit camera shows the two thieves, a man and a woman, climbing into the truck and then driving by with Lougheed's belongings in the back.

Lougheed takes solace in the fact that he still has a 1995 South African World Cup jersey framed in his office.

People have rallied around social media in a bid to help Lougheed. He says one of his first emails Friday was from former England international wing Ian Hunter, who swapped jerseys with Lougheed after winning his first cap.

Hunter offered to send him another jersey.

"I hadn't spoken to him 20 years," said Lougheed, appreciative of the gesture.

A powerful back, Lougheed was one of Canada's rugby trailblazers overseas where he played professionally for Leicester Tigers in England.

If you have information on the stolen jerseys, you can contact Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234 or Lougheed himself at dave.lougheed@raymondjames.ca or @Davelougheed

"I'm just hoping that something turns up," said Lougheed.

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