ELYRIA - As Martin Miller sees it, a martial arts competition should have been the last place for a thief to strike.
He likens it to trying to steal something at a policemen`s ball, or a U.S. Special Forces reunion.
|SHAWN FOUCHER / CHRONICLE|
|Elyria resident Martin Miller holds up a photo of himself holding his "Kill Bill" sword.|
"I figured that, being amongst other martial artists, there would be honor and not theft," said Miller, 40, an Elyria resident. "But I guess not."
Miller, who says he`s an accomplished martial artist who practices ninjitsu, hapkido and a variety of other martial-arts styles, was the target of a thief on Saturday during a martial arts competition at an Ohio State University branch in Newark.
And it wasn`t just any old heist.
The thief broke into a pickup truck parked in the OSU Newark parking lot and made off with the $2,700 sword, a weapon Miller says was used in the movie "Kill Bill."
Miller said he bought the sword on eBay around the time the movie was released in 2003 and ended up using it in martial arts competitions. The 4-pound sword is stainless steel and features 24-karat gold plating on certain areas, as well as a dazzling array of ornamental designs and pictures, such as a devil`s head and Japanese symbols, Miller said.
Miller said he and a group of fellow martial artists from Tracy`s Karate in North Ridgeville left Lorain County on Saturday morning to participate in the Ohio Martial Arts Championship in Newark, where about 150 participants were competing.
Miller won two medals during the competition and also served as a judge. Just before 5 p.m., as the competition was winding down, folks started heading for the parking lot.
Miller said he took his sword and a handful of other items - a ninja uniform, a sai, nunchucks, a staff and some cash - and stowed them all in a Ford Ranger that belongs to Tracy`s Karate studio.
He said he locked the truck and headed back inside to help other folks carry out their own equipment, but by the time he returned to the pickup, everything was gone. None of the windows were broken, so Miller suspected the thief broke in through a sliding glass window facing the truck bed.
Roger Grimes, owner of Tracy`s Karate, said the theft happened in just minutes.
Miller said he filed a police report with Newark police, though the parking lot at the OSU branch didn`t have any security cameras, and countless people traveled from miles around to watch or participate in the competition.
On Tuesday, Miller seemed remarkably calm about losing a piece of equipment for which he shelled out $2,700.
"If they had to steal it to obtain it, then they must have needed it more than me," Miller said.
Of course, he`s hoping they`re now finished using it.
"I really don`t care who took it or why," Miller said. "I just want it back. I`d like everything back, but the sword is the most important thing."
Miller, who occasionally gives free lessons to children in his neighborhood, said he`s trying to raise his children in martial arts and was hoping to pass the sword along to them.
"I know every inch of that sword," Miller said. "It`s sharp enough to cut through a car door."
He said he tried that once at a junk yard. It worked well, he said.
"I don`t know what it would take to replace it," he said. "I don`t want to know. I don`t want anyone to go to jail for stealing it - I just want it back."
Contact Shawn Foucher at 653-6255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.