(KINGSVILLE, ON) – Simeron Matijasevic never thought that a trip to the Jack Miner Sanctuary with a grocery bag of old documents would cause such excitement.
Last Monday, Simeron met with Mary Baruth, the executive director of the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation, to show her documents he bought ten days earlier at a yard sale in Kingsville for $20. Baruth thought it might just be another collection of print materials commonly brought in for verification, value, and/or donation, but she received a big surprise when the bag was opened.
Matijasevic, an avid stamp collector, had picked up the material while attending a Thursday yard sale, as he was looking for old stamps. He brought a bag, approximately 10% of what he had at home.
“Her hands started to shake when she saw what was in the bag,” Matijasevic later told the OPP officer who came to the Sanctuary.
Baruth explained that documents and artifacts had been unlawfully removed from the Sanctuary by the former director, Kirk Miner several years ago, and that the Foundation had received a successful judgement against Miner regarding material sold to the Detroit Tigers in 2015, but that there was still a lot of material missing.
“I had to find a way to tell this nice gentleman that he was in possession of stolen property,” Baruth said.
The OPP verified the story and Matijasevic headed back to his home in Windsor to retrieve the remainder of the stolen material.
“I couldn’t sleep knowing I had this in my hands,” he said. “Jack, I think, led me here today.”
Baruth offered to reimburse Matijasevic the money he paid for the material, but he declined. His reward “was doing the right thing.”
Nonetheless, Baruth gave him a real Jack Miner goose band, and on Tuesday, banded a Canada goose with Simeron’s name inscribed on the inside. He will also choose the bible verse for the 2018 commemorative bands later this year.
Archives returned included handwritten letters and documents from 1920-1940, many still in standard file folders, related to the issue of wolves and crows and their impact on migratory bird populations, the blue prints for the banding net still in use today, news articles, and more.
A full review of the documents is underway and an exhibit of the recovered material will open in the Jack Miner Museum during Migration Festival Weekend, October 19 through 22, this year. The material recovered from the Detroit Tigers is currently on display in the Jack Miner house.
Baruth reminds everyone that if they are in possession of artifacts or archival material that may have been given to them by the former director, volunteers, or staff that they are indeed in possession of stolen goods and encourages them to follow Simeron Matijasevic’s example and return the items to the Foundation offices at The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary.