LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The Lee’s Summit Police Department has recovered a trophy stolen from former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson.
On Jan. 6, officers with the department’s Crime Reduction Team were patrolling at Summit Woods Shopping Center when police were notified of a suspect walking out of the store with a large amount of merchandise.
Officers detained the suspect and discovered they had left the store with roughly $6,500 worth of merchandise, including clothing, electronics, jewelry and cologne.
The suspect’s vehicle was also listed as stolen out of Kansas City, Missouri. While officers were searching the vehicle, they discovered another $5,500 worth of stolen tools and electronics inside.
That’s also where they found a large, silver trophy with the name Len Dawson engraved on it.
It all added up to about $30,00 in stolen property. Lee’s Summit Police spokesman Chris Depue said the suspect was arrested.
“All in all, everyone got their property back,” Depue said. “The most important one for us was that trophy.”
The trophy was given to the former Chiefs quarterback in 1976 to honor his years of service in professional football. Dawson died at the age of 87 in August 2022.
Detectives reached out to the Kansas City Chiefs organization who connected them to Dawson’s wife, Linda. When police returned the trophy to the Dawson family, Linda told officers that the trophy was likely stolen sometime in the early 1980s.
“I’m going to speculate that Mr. Dawson had rooms full of trophies. He was an amazing athlete and ambassador for Kansas City,” Depue said.
“But to know that you have something out there that had been taken from you, that’s a sense of loss. We know how victims feel when they’re a victim of a burglary. So I’m sure to have that back gives her peace of mind to know that it’s not out there in someone else’s possession and it’s back home where it belongs.”
Linda Dawson told FOX4 she’s delighted to have a piece of Len back home, and she thanks Lee’s Summit Police for making it happen.
“We can only speculate as to where that thing has been the last 40 years, but we were simply glad for two things: a great arrest, but more importantly that we were able to return that to her,” Depue said.
Finding the trophy’s rightful owner was an easy case to solve for Lee’s Summit detectives.
“It was instantly obvious that it belonged to the late Len Dawson,” Depue said. “Tt was given to him in 1976 as part of an appreciation trophy.”
It may take more time to figure out who took the trophy in the first place.
Depue said the suspect didn’t admit to being part of the original theft. Detectives questioned him about it.
“Gave a sketchy or twisted story about how they had come in contact with it,” Depue said. “I’m sure it’s passed through many hands I would assume over the last 40 years.”
Regardless, Linda Dawson said she’s “overjoyed” the trophy is back in her home, especially as the Super Bowl approaches.
Linda said other personal items of Dawson’s have been stolen over the years. She’s hoping those will be recovered, as well.