Thief steals $800 from players at Joe O'Brien field

By Julie Fann
Star Staff

   A thief stole approximately $800 in cash from the wallets of Greeneville Astros' team members during Monday's first game of the Appalachian League Baseball season at Joe O'Brien Field, according to a report from the Elizabethton Police Department.
   Around 9:30 p.m., Sgt. Jack Ramsey was dispatched to the field about a burglary. He spoke with Rev. Harold Mains and Mike Mains, managers of the Elizabethton Twins, and Tim Bogar, general manager for the Greeneville Astros.
   "Rev. Mains told me that, during the game, at approximately the 6th or 7th inning, the Astros' pitcher left the game, went to the locker room, and took a shower. He then noticed that the back door to the visiting locker room was ajar," Ramsey said. "He said that maybe he neglected to push it all the way to."
   But Bogar told Ramsey that they noticed the door was unlatched while his team warmed up also. After the game ended, nine Astros' players discovered that cash, totaling $805, was missing from their wallets. Ramsey said the players did not notice cash missing prior to the game.
   EPD Captain Croy and Ramsey asked the team for consent to search their bags to find the missing money and eliminate other members of the team from suspicion. All of the players consented, but no missing cash was found.
   "We concluded from this that, subsequent to the pitcher leaving the door ajar, a person or persons entered the locker room from the back door, which is on the west side of the building and opens to the main concourse passing the ticket booth, and went through the players' bags, removing what money they found," Ramsey said.
   All of the victims' lockers were adjacent to one another, four on one wall and five on the opposite wall. One of the player's wallets was hidden in his bag, and his money was not stolen even though money was taken from the players on either side of him, according to Ramsey's report.
   Mike Mains said he regrets the larceny happened. "This is our thirty-first season, and nothing like this has ever occurred. ... From the Twins' standpoint, we're looking at who could have done it here. The Astros are looking into who could have done it with them," Mains said. "Our league president said he couldn't recall anything like this happening ever before. We feel like the facility was as secure as it could be, and so, with that being said, this is just a terrible situation."
   An investigation conducted by the EPD, the Twins and the Astros into the larceny is ongoing.