Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner lost $400,000 worth of jewelry to burglars at his Town of Hamburg home, apparently during Sunday's game in which Whitner made a big play to help the Bills win their home opener.
Town of Hamburg police said Monday they were conducting an "active investigation" into a theft at the home of a member of the Bills, but they declined to identify the player or confirm that it was Whitner, noting that it is the Police Department's policy not to release information involving an ongoing investigation.
Patrice Horton, Whitner's business spokeswoman, confirmed that his house was burglarized and that the figure was $400,000. "I can't tell you what pieces [of jewelry] they were," she said.
Detective Lt. Kevin Trask, chief of the Detective Bureau, said police received a call Sunday night regarding items missing from the player's home.
Whitner made the discovery following the game.
"He was upset. He was hurt," Horton said. "He doesn't know who was responsible. There's some feeling of being violated. You don't know who was in your home. But he's OK."
While calling the incident "very disappointing," Whitner said it was too early to say exactly what was taken.
"It's very early in the stages, but no one was harmed," Whitner told reporters after practice. "There were some things taken, but that's all I can say."
During the first quarter of Sunday's 33-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Whitner scored on a 76-yard interception return to put the Bills ahead 14-0.
It was the free safety's first National Football League touchdown. Hours later, he learned about the burglary.
"Donte's going to keep doing his thing on the field, and we're going to allow police to do their job," Horton said. "We'll keep rolling along with life."
The burglary marks the second time in less than a week that a Bills player living in the Town of Hamburg has been a crime victim.
Following the opening game of the season Sept. 14 in Foxborough, Mass., two 16-year-old youths admitted spray-painting the front lawn of Bills cornerback and kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin after his fumble helped lead to a stunning one-point loss to the New England Patriots.
"I think it's two isolated incidents," Whitner said. "I wouldn't say it was the fans or anything like that. I'm not pointing any fingers, but the fact of the matter is something happened."
Asked about his message to the fans Monday, Whitner replied, "I love the fans here. We're going to win some more football games for you guys."
News Staff Reporter Lou Michel contributed to this report.
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com