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September 9, 2009

Stolen No. 8 and other weird things

The theft of Cal Ripken Jr.'s No. 8 statue from Camden Yards (crime scene at left in photo by Sun photograher Amy Davis) reminds me other strange things people have pilfered over the years in Baltimore. I'd love to see a Top 10 list. Here's a few to get us started:

In 1995, someone got away with a one-of-a-kind baseball from Babe Ruth Museum that had been signed by 22 members of the 1934 American League All Star team, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Fox. The "Matchless Ball" was returned as mysteriously as it disappeared.

In 1997, someone made off with 300-pound solid brass doors to the city's downtown Circuit Courthouse.

In 2005, someone stole the large fiberglass crab statue from a sidewalk in front of Eddie's grocery store in Roland Park. It had been wearing a chefs jacket and holiding tongs and a whisk in its claws.

These are just a few cases I can remember. Now we've got one more to the list -- the stolen No. 8 from the plaza in front of the main entrance to the baseball stadium near Eutaw Street. I just got back from the scene and spoke to a few tourists from Cleveland waiting for a tour. They couldn't believe someone from Baltimore would pull off such a theft from the Orioles.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 11:35 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Confronting crime


I still think the stolen lamp posts from a few years ago are still the most baffling thing. Ever.

Can you give us an update on that investigation, Pete?

Can we please see the mugshots of these donkeys??

Also, I think mandatory vasectomies sound like an appropriate punishment. These guys should not be breeding.

The truly idiotic part isn't that they stole this, it's that they stole it, put it in the back of a pickup uncovered, then decided to get loud in East Baltimore. Though it would be equally deplorable and criminal, at least if it was someone trying to get it back to a place of honor in their frathouse up the hill, you'd have to give them props for aiming high.

There used to be a place on Joppa Road, Kelly's Butcher & Deli, which had a large statue of a bull on the roof, I mean big, and it routinely ended up in strange places other than the roof. The story I recall is the bull ending up in the bottom of a swimming pool.

Sterilization is a little extreme. How about you go first Canice?

One of my favorite 'Baltimore Moments' was when someone was stealing light poles along Perring Parkway. Not one - dozens - each 700 pounds of aluminum $$. It just proves that even if it is bolted down, three stories tall and electrified, it could be stolen in good ol' Charm City.

@ Candice -

Agreed! I remember one of these delinquents (from a previous lifetime) and they are a disgrace to the human race and need to be removed from the gene pool...

On a serious note, Their pictures should be published as soon as possible. Even though it is something that is replaceable, they should be prosecuted to the highest degree (this is a felony) to be made examples of what a mindless and idiotic theft it was. What were they really going to do with it? Also, test them for drugs...

Let's reinstall iron numbers ... that shock you when touched. Problem solved.

Philadelphia has us beat by a city block.

A few years back an official-looking work crew showed up and blocked off a city street with wooden horses and proceeded to remove the cobblestones, ostensibly to repave the sreet with the usual asphalt or concrete used in road construction.

They left later that day ---- but NEVER returned and the road remained blocked off until merchants called the city to inquire about when the road work would be finished.

The stolen road was eventually recovered when the thieves tried to sell the stones, which are apparently made from granite and laid vertically but are perhaps 6-8" long and quite heavy.

Was anybody really surprised that they were drunk and in a pick-up?

You should release all mug shots when available. This paper is notorious for being P.C.. Why is that? Concerned city residents read their local neighborhood papers and the CityPaper, see the stats from the Sun and Police.

Why don't you hammer down on the wasted tax dollars on police over-time? This put us in our budget hole! Police over-time is a massive issue. City cops get paid less than county cops, but depend on overtime. A few years ago we had to import police, we still can't fill the vacancies even in the economic downturn. From my experience the most fit cops just hang around and wait for their pensions. The proactive cops are over-weight African American women.

The former like to hang out or sleep in areas that are not needed. The latter are pro-active. Why can't we fill these jobs? Neighborhood Associations who care?

I live in and run around this town everyday. I have been told by detectives that there are only 12-16 cops on duty in the massive southeast district at any one time. If 4 are at Royal Farms, 2 at Canton market, 2 sleeping in Fells Point at anyone time ( my experience (I see this in 15 minutes). Where are the rest? Morale continues to be low, most cops see residents as "animals" furthered by you, and go home to the 'burbs (Ironically like you) WTF: you could make a difference! Why don't you?

The police force could be more efficient,higher performing and showing better resuilts, if you put pressure on them. Proactive v. reactive.

All of this makes me feel you are not trying and want to be the next David Simon.

Slander me as you will, but don't say I don't care because of what I do for a living. In fact I will stop contacting you, if you admit that passing judgement on me in our first conversation was wrong.

I want the city to become a better place and do not exploit it.

Hey Dunn - What is wrong with proactive Africian American Women Cops ?

I said it, you will never hear from me again.

In the future please don't dismiss city residents who care regardless of their profession.

If you would ever like to debate online, in public, without your advantage please feel free to contact me.

Hey Peter, you find time to go to Camden Yards and interview tourists from Cleveland about the theft of a meaningless #8 but you don't go to the Baltimore ACORN office to report on a far worse crime? What about that great bastion of journalistic integrity Dan Rodricks going to ACORN and reporting on what took place? Oh's about a socialist organization that has ties to the president and Democrats. I'd bet if it was a Republican in office and a conservative organization, Rodricks and the Sun staff would be all over it. Somewhere A.S. Abell is rolling in his grave. Shame on the Sun for not reporting on an important story.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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