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That's the cockamamie-sounding turn of events in Leake's alleged shoplifting misadventure being reported by WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.

On Monday, the Stew shared the stunning report that the 23-year-old Cincinnati Reds pitcher had been arrested and booked for stealing $59.88 in merchandise — six American Rag T-shirts — from a Macy's department store in downtown Cincy.

It sounded incredible, especially for a first-round draft pick who had signed a $2.3 million signing bonus in 2009 and brings home a yearly $425,000 salary.

Well, if the tale already wasn't incredible enough, try this explanation on for size, courtesy of an unnamed source for WCPO reporter Dennis Janson:

Leake did indeed pay for [the] T-shirts some time prior to yesterday's episode. And only in the process of clumsily trying to exchange them, did he run afoul of, if not the law, then certainly the dictates of common sense.

[...] Leake somehow thought that he could affect what is termed an "even exchange" without benefit of a store employee presiding over the transaction.

You're telling us this runs afoul of common sense? We're to believe Leake just walked into Macy's, dropped off shirts he didn't want, grabbed a like amount that he did, tore off the security tags, and walked out like everything was cool?

So, not only does Mike Leake(notes) not know where his team plays (he called it "Reds Stadium" instead of "Great American Ball Park" in the police report), but he also doesn't know how to properly exchange merchandise at a department store?

It's just so unbelievable that ... I just might buy this story.

After all, Leake was arrested with a wad of cash and credit cards aplenty on his person. Stealing just seems silly. And it would be better for all of us if Mike Leake were simply guilty of being stupid. We don't need more criminals running amok, after all.

But here's another reason why Janson's version doesn't add up: Earlier on Tuesday, an attorney said Leake would be seeking to cleanse his record via a diversion program.

From Cincinnati.com:

Diversion programs are for first-time offenders and entail admitting guilt and paying the program fee. In this case, it would be $200. If Leake is eligible, he would have to check in monthly over a period that could be between three to six months.

Under such a deal, Leake could be made to take classes, perform community service and/or receive counseling. It sounds like an avenue for someone with a guilty conscience.

Janson describes what a cynical person might call a desperate attempt to explain away criminal behavior. Or, maybe they were simply the actions of a dumb guy.

Which one is Leake? Before anyone tries to answer, check out his mug shot again, augmented by some fancy WCPO graphics. Why does it look like they've put Leake's head in a lasagna pan? Did the district attorney of Hamilton County say, "Bring me the head of Mike Leake on a platter" and so someone did?

Anyway, whichever guy Mike Leake is — ditsy devil or airhead angel — I hope the next time he tries a five-finger discount, he's just taking a few MPH off his breaking ball in a bullpen session.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave — and engage the Stew on Facebook

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