April 18, 2011
In a stunning case of alleged retail theft that makes little sense to anybody, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake(notes) was arrested and booked Monday afternoon for allegedly stealing $59.88 worth of merchandise from a Macy's department store in downtown Cincy.
The second-year right-hander, in case you're wondering, makes $425,000 a year and received a $2.3 million signing bonus after being drafted out of Arizona State.
Leake is accused of stealing six American Rag T-shirts from the store, removing the security tags and leaving the store without paying for them.
Police said the incident was caught on security cameras at the Downtown Macy's.
Six $9.99 T-shirts?! Hopefully it turns out to be a misunderstanding (like the case of saggy pants mall ejectee Dez Bryant), but at the moment Mr. Leake stands to spend up to 180 days in jail if convicted of this misdemeanor.
That would be about 180 more days than he's spent in the minor leagues, of course. To date, Leake had been noted for a meteoric rise to the Reds major league rotation — entirely bypassing the minors — after being a first-round pick of the club in 2009.
UPDATE: The Reds have made a statement. Via Mark Sheldon's blog at MLB.com:
"On behalf of the Cincinnati Reds organization, at this time we are advised to not publicly address this matter because of the pending legal proceedings. However, we do not condone behavior of the type alleged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow. When the legal process has been completed, we will handle this matter internally."
People steal for reasons other than need, and here's another strange aspect of this case: Leake, or someone acting as Leake, actually tweeted not long after being processed by the police.
The tweet in question, along with a few other recent ones, were deleted — though the content had nothing obvious to do with Leake's arrest. But I got a screen grab of the possibly relevant evidence. It's just ... strange that he would be tweeting Monday without first making a statement about his arrest.
Also, according to Leake's leaked arrest report, he lists his employer and employer's address as "Reds Stadium." Maybe it's because he was under Miranda, or was made nervous by the pressure of the third-degree being given him by the police deputy, but how does he not know "Great American Ball Park?"
It's all so strange.
Leake is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA after a sometimes-impressive rookie season when he was undefeated after 10 starts and finished with a 4.23 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 22 starts overall.
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