Virginia Beach ‘autograph chaser’ says someone stole his valuable signed items

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jan 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-16 23:27:14-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - A self-proclaimed autograph chaser says he's missing thousands of dollars’ worth of signed posters and pictures of celebrities.

He says he had a signed baseball by Mitt Romney, an autographed photo of Gabby Douglas, and a signed Star Trek IV poster worth $3,000 were just a few of the items stolen from Joseph La Porte's Virginia Beach home in November.

The hunt for autographs is a form of art to La Porte, who is in the process of making a documentary, entitled "Autograph Junkie."

He believes a cameraman from the film, who has since moved out of Hampton Roads, stole the items.

"He knows the values of some of the stuff and as far as I’m concerned, he's just trying to get some Christmas money,” La Porte says.

La Porte has collected thousands of autographs since he started in the 1980's. He's never sold any of them and says it's not about the money, it's about the chase.

"People say like, 'Oh you know there are normal hobbies like playing racquetball or climbing mountains or something,' this is what I choose to do,” La Porte says. “I want to go out and get autographs. That's what makes me happy is getting stuff signed."

Outside of hunting autographs, La Porte works as a videographer and personal assistant. This doesn’t bring in enough money to continue with his film. He's hoping police can at least help track down the thief.

"The box that had all the autographs and the photos, the only people who have touched that box is myself and the person who stole from me."

La Porte says police are calling this a targeted robbery since his autographed items were the only things of value stolen from his home. He's hoping police can use fingerprints from the box the autographs were in to track the thief.