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MOTHER OF BASEBALL’S CAL RIPKEN JR. ABDUCTED AT GUNPOINT

The 74-year-old mother of Hall of Fame infielder and all time consecutive games played streak, Cal Ripken Jr., was safe Wednesday, one day after an armed man abducted her from her home northeast of Baltimore.

According to police, a man with a gun showed up at Violet Roberta Ripken’s home between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday by a man who forced her into her 1998 Lincoln Town Car. It’s unclear if Ripken’s mother, known to most as ‘Vi,’ opened the door for the suspect or if there was a break in. She was subsequently kidnapped by the unknown assailant. After being reported missing, she was found unharmed at about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday in her car near her home in Aberdeen, some 25 miles from Baltimore. She is currently resting with her relieved family.

Mrs. Ripken described her abductor as a tall, thin white man with glasses, but police had no other details. The FBI and Maryland State Police were involved in the investigation. An FBI spokesman said authorities don’t know whether the abductor knew the Ripken family or what, if any, demands might have been made. The Aberdeen Police Department said they were looking for a white male in his late 30s to early 40s seen wearing a light-colored shirt, camouflage pants and eyeglasses.

Once the man is caught he faces very serious penalties under Maryland law. Kidnapping carries a possible 30-year prison term. The crime is generally defined as carrying a person off through force or fraud. There is no requirement that the person be confined for a minimum period of time like 24 hours before the crime becomes kidnapping. So even though Vi Ripken was only missing for a few hours, the suspect likely faces kidnapping charges.

In addition, if it is discovered that the suspect robbed the home or had the intentions of seeking a ransom from Cal Ripken Jr. for the same return of his mother, a judge may consider these as aggravating factors and lean towards the maximum 30-year prison term for the abduction.

by Nick Alcock

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