QUEENSBURY ♦ The former owner of an Aviation Mall sports memorabilia store that closed abruptly earlier this year was jailed Monday on a felony charge that accuses him of stealing thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia from a customer, police said.
Donald “Brendon” Brownson II, 40, was charged with third-degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing $8,250 worth of sports cards, baseballs and other items, according to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
A customer who lives in Saratoga County gave Brownson the baseball items, including some related to New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and older players, over a period that began in September, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said.
Brownson did not return the items before the store closed, and since the closure, the owner of the items has not been able to reach Brownson, Stockdale said.
In all, Stockdale said the Sheriff’s Office has heard from about 50 customers who claim Brownson owes them money or refunds for tickets to autograph signing events and memorabilia raffles.
Brownson operated Omega Sports in the Queensbury mall for several years before mall management ordered the store closed Feb. 11. The closure came the day before a professional wrestler was to sign autographs at the store and numerous people who bought tickets for the event came to the store only to find it was closed.
The closure also occurred days after representatives of two professional wrestlers, The Edge and Ultimate Warrior, publicly raised questions about Omega Sports on numerous websites, saying the store was selling tickets to autograph signing events and was advertising appearances by the respective wrestlers even though they had not agreed to attend. Some tickets cost $100 each.
Kingsbury resident Al Engels was among those who claim Brownson owes them money. He said he was glad to hear Brownson had been arrested, and he has not heard anything from Brownson about a refund.
“I never heard anything back at all. Other people I know never heard from him either,” Engels said Monday.
Someone purporting to be Brownson posted on his business’s website that he planned to refund customers’ money after the store closed, but Stockdale said he was not aware of anyone getting their money back.
Brownson was arrested over the weekend in Niagara Falls, where he has apparently opened a new Omega Sports store, on a warrant issued in Queensbury Town Court.
He had operated a memorabilia store in the Buffalo area before he moved the business to Aviation Mall.
He was arraigned Monday morning and was sent to Warren County Jail for lack of bail. He posted bail later Monday and was freed.
In court, he told Queensbury town Justice Michael Muller he did not believe he committed a crime. He was not represented by a lawyer.
Stockdale said sheriff’s officers plan to discuss the possibility of additional charges against Brownson — related to the autograph signing events — with the Warren County District Attorney’s Office.
“He’s going to have to explain why he hasn’t paid all of these people back,” Stockdale said.
Brownson, who also went by the name Brendon Bronson, did not return phone messages for comment in the days after the store closed.