Thieves broke into the Elvis-A-Rama museum in Las Vegas earlier this week and made off with more than a quarter-million dollars worth of Elvis Presley memorabilia.
The heist took only five minutes as the perpetrators rammed a stolen tow truck into the back door of the museum and broke into three display cases with lead pipes. Among the loot taken were a trio of rings (Presley's 1953 high school class ring, an Elvis Day memento ring from the Louisiana Hayride radio show and a diamond ring bought in Vegas), a gold-plated pistol, and other assorted belongings.
One of the museum's prized possessions, a pair of the King's blue suede shoes, was not pinched during the robbery.
The Elvis-A-Rama museum was opened by collector Chris Davidson (who first saw Elvis in Las Vegas in 1975 at age ten) in 1999. The 8,000 square-foot venue, which also hosts performances by a pair of Elvis impersonators, is billed as "the world's largest private collection of original Elvis Presley memorabilia west of Memphis."
Davidson has built the collection over several years, buying pieces at auctions and from Elvis acquaintances. Starting with two checks and a personal letter purchased at an auction by Elvis' Memphis Mafia pal Jimmy Velvet (bought for $8,000), Davidson built up a collection that numbers more than 2,000 pieces. Because of the acquisition of new items, the museum occasionally sells original Elvis memorabilia to the general public.