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Engel Faces 2nd Count of Shoplifting Baseball Cards

From Associated Press

National League umpire Bob Engel has been formally charged with a second count of shoplifting packs of baseball cards.

An attorney entered pleas of not guilty for Engel in Bakersfield Municipal Court Tuesday on both petty theft counts and on one count of commercial burglary stemming from Engel’s arrest on April 21.

After reports of the episode, the manager of Costco Warehouse told police that Engel tried to conceal 50 packs of baseball cards in his pockets last January. He was questioned after another customer tipped security officers, but Costco officials did not report the incident to police at that time.

The incident that led to his arrest involved seven boxes of Score baseball cards, containing more than 4,000 cards worth $143.98, that were displayed in a store. Police said that Engel, a resident of Bakersfield, took the cards to a corner of the store and put them in a brown paper bag he pulled from the waistband of his pants. A security guard stopped Engel as he left.

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Engel, who has been a National League umpire since 1966, was indefinitely suspended by the league after his arrest, with the explanation that the suspension would allow him to devote full time to the charges. The league said the umpire agreed with the action.

Engel has made no public comment since his arrest. His listed telephone has been disconnected.

The Bakersfield Californian reported that investigative reports filed in Municipal Court in the current cases state that Engel admitted to police that he was arrested for investigation of shoplifting videocassette tapes in 1986. However, the newspaper found no court record of that case and said law enforcement officials explained that records can be expunged if a misdemeanor offender completes a diversion program.


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