Cal Ripken Monument Stolen; Recovered By Police

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BALTIMORE (AP) -- As if things weren't bad enough for the Baltimore Orioles, who just clinched their 12th consecutive losing season: On Wednesday, a temporary fence and police tape surrounded the spot that had been occupied by a monument to one of the team's all-time greats, Cal Ripken.

The large aluminum No. 8 outside the Camden Yards ballpark was stolen Tuesday night by four young men who were arrested about two hours later, Baltimore police said. The monument was recovered.

Surveillance cameras captured video of the men removing the 4-foot monument and placing it in the bed of a pickup truck, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Police put out an all-points bulletin, and the men were arrested in east Baltimore after officers responding to a disorderly conduct report spotted the object in the truck bed, Guglielmi said.

The Orioles have a series of aluminum monuments depicting retired uniform numbers outside one entrance to the downtown ballpark. They include Brooks Robinson's 5, Jim Palmer's 22 and Eddie Murray's 33.

The suspects were identified as Gary Parker, 19, of Baltimore; Matthew Rayner, 19, of Chase; Patrick Reynolds, 18, of Middle River; and Jason Stoneberner, 19, of Essex.

They were being held at the city's Central Booking and Intake Center on charges of felony theft and destruction of property, police said. There was no indication they had attorneys.

Police returned the monument to the Orioles on Wednesday after taking photos and examining it for evidence, Guglielmi said.

"I don't know if they'll be able to reuse it," he said.

Orioles spokesman Monica Barlow said the team had no comment about the theft because it was a police matter. She said she did not know when the monument would be reinstalled. The Orioles began a five-game road trip with a 10-0 drubbing by Boston Tuesday night, their 82nd loss of the season, and will return home Monday.

Ripken had no comment on the theft, said his spokesman, John Maroon.