In this Oct. 2, 2005 file photo, then-New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza embraces then-Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels after a tribute to Piazza's seven-year career with the Mets.
The former clubhouse manager for the Mets has been charged with stealing more than $2 million worth of team memorabilia and collectibles, including signed bats and baseballs and an autographed 1986 World Series warm-up jersey.
Charlie Samuels was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Queens. The indictment charges him with 21 counts, including criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.
The cache of stolen sports memorabilia is valued at $2.3 million and was recovered from the basement of a Madison, Conn. home last year belonging to a friend of Samuels, prosecutors said.
"The autographed sports memorabilia and collectibles industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry and this case exposes its darker side -- the enthusiast who does not collect for personal enjoyment but rather stockpiles hundreds of pieces of sports memorabilia as a long-term investment," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.
Samuels was fired last year after an internal investigation into illegal gambling. His attorney, Michael Bachner, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The DA said Samuels also embezzled $24,955 from the Mets organization by submitting "inflated expense claims" above the the total cost for meals for umpires.
Prosecutors said Samuels, who was responsible for signing off on meal expenses submitted by the umpire room manager, inflated umpire meal costs by "falsely listing additional food expenses." He is accused of running that scam from 2007 through 2010.
Prosecutors said he also failed to report or pay back taxes on more than $200,000 in gratuities and dues from Mets players.
Samuels was hired by the Mets in 1976 and became equipment manager in 1983. He was then made the clubhouse manager and traveling secretary.