Inspector June Dobson, Detachment Commander of the Grenville County OPP has been charged with fraud as a result of investigations into the theft of Wayne Gretzky memorabilia worth more than $500,000. Inspector Dobson is not linked directly to that theft. Rather, she is charged with “misrepresenting the authenticity and origin” of a hockey stick, which she is alleged to have claimed had been used by Gretzky in a game. The stick was his, but not used as she claimed. Her claim inflated the value of the stick, and so is considered fraud.
While the hockey stick bore an authentic Wayne Gretzky autograph, she tried to pass it off as a stick Gretzky owned when he was young, according to Brantford Police Staff Sgt. Keith Tollar, who noted that: “It’s alleged that, because of her title and her office, (it) added some credibility to the item”. The stick was sold to a collector for $6,000.
The possible fraud was discovered by the Brantford police into the theft of the memorabilia from the home of Gretzky’s father, Walter, a family friend of Dobson. After a three-month investigation, police arrested a man in Oakville and charged him with theft over $5,000. Memorabilia of all kinds can be big business, as was shown just last week, when a mint condition Gretzky rookie card recently sold for just under $1.3 million U.S.
However, it should be repeated that the arrest and charging of June Dobson was not directly connected with the theft from the Grezky house. She was on duty at the time the alleged incident took place for which she has been charged, and is currently on what the OPP are calling “unrelated leave”. Because of privacy considerations, the OPP spokesperson, Brian Dickson would not comment on the reason for her leave.
A separate investigation to that of the Brantford police is being undertaken by the OPP into Inspector Dobson’s actions, as is usual in such circumstances, once the criminal investigation is concluded. The OPP Professional Standards Unit opens a parallel, non-criminal investigation into any officer charged with an offense. In a statement, the OPP noted that: “OPP officers are held to a higher standard of behaviour than other citizens. Officers found to have broken the law/behavioural standards will be subject to additional disciplinary proceedings, including possible demotion and dismissal, depending on the circumstances.”