FOREST PARK, Ohio — Juveniles allegedly shoplifted a Pete Rose bat while the Hit King sat nearby at local sports memorabilia store, the Journal-News reported.
Rose was sitting in the back room of Sports Gallery, 1161 Smiley Ave., after an autograph session when eight young boys entered the store Monday, according to a police report. One of them grabbed a black Marucci bat — handcrafted for the Hit King — and ran out.
The store’s owner, Mark Fugate, 54, ran out of the back door after the suspects, the report said. A Forest Park police officer, on targeted patrol in the shopping center, said he saw numerous boys running out of the store, and one of them was carrying a bat, the report said.
Fugate said he confronted one of the juveniles in the parking lot as the police officer chased the other fleeing suspects in his cruiser. Three juveniles were stopped in the wooded area behind the store, Fugate said. The property was recovered, according to the police report. Fugate declined to prosecute, police said.
Fugate said the officer returned the stolen Rose bat, valued at $150, and he was “stunned” to see the Hit King sitting at a table. The officer handed the bat to Rose and said, “Pete, I got your bat.”
Rose said the bat belonged to Fugate and Rose autographed the bat, then gave it to Fugate.
Rose and Fugate thanked the officer for his “quick actions.”
Rose told the officer that he somehow would be “blamed” for the theft, a comment that made the officer laugh, Fugate said.
“They will say, ‘The Hit King did it,’” Rose said, according to Fugate.
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