Boston Garden president Larry Moulter said yesterday that his company is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who stole the Celtics retirement banner featuring the numbers of Dennis Johnson, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Reggie Lewis.
In addition, Moulter pledged to beef up security and to install video surveillance equipment at the Garden, which will be torn down next fall to make room for the FleetCenter.
"We're taking this very seriously," said Moulter. "Offering a reward like this is very unusual. It's not for the banner. It's to show our seriousness and insistence that people be allowed to come and enjoy the history of this building."
The Celtics banner bearing numbers 3, 33, 32 and Lewis' newly added number 35, which was raised last Wednesday, is believed to have been stolen sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Sources said yesterday that both the Garden and Boston police are investigating the possibility that someone took the banner to protest the retirement of Lewis' number. There was much debate over that issue in the days leading up to the ceremony because of recent reports linking Lewis to cocaine use.