Arch Criminals Make Off With Baltimore's Only Memory Of Cal Ripken Jr.

How bad has crime become in Baltimore now that The Wire is off the air? Hooligans pilfered a three-foot high aluminum number "8" from Camden Yards last week. Now no one in the city can count to nine.

Sadly, this was the only Oriole artifact anywhere in the area that had any resale value. (As you can see in this pre-desecration picture, there has to be at least $4 worth of melted scrap there.) The good news is that the bandits were not hard to catch, because they were driving around town drawing noise complaints from residents—while the "statue" sat in the back of their pickup truck.

The four Dillingers were all underage and—surprise!—drunk as boiled owls. (Yes, that's a saying!) They were also caught on surveillance cameras ripping the sculpture out of its base. The citizenry is obviously horrified.

It is a theft both brazen and unimaginable in a city where residents revere Ripken, the Aberdeen native who won two Most Valuable Awards, was selected to 19 All-Star teams and obliterated Lou Gehrig's record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games. The Orioles put the statue up in October 2001, a month after Ripken retired.

"Every day, I hear things on the news and I think, 'Who in the world would do something like that,' and I have no idea," Ripken's mother, Vi, said in a telephone interview. "Maybe they thought, 'We'll get attention if we do this.' I wouldn't even venture a guess as to what motivates people."

It's like watching Johnny Unitas kill that hobo* all over again.

Ripken's No. 8 statue stolen [Baltimore Sun]

*May not have happened.