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Posted at 05:27 PM ET, 07/26/2012

Police release surveillance photo of suspect in Ripken abduction

Police in Aberdeen, Md., have released surveillance photos of a man they said abducted at gunpoint the 74-year-old mother of Baltimore Oriole legend Cal Ripken Jr., bound her hands and drove her around Maryland in her silver Lincoln Town Car.

The photos appear to have been taken outside a store, though police declined to describe the location, saying to do so would compromise their investigation.


The person of interest in the abduction of Violet Ripken. (Courtesy of Aberdeen Police )
Though blurry, the photos show a thin white man in glasses wearing a white shirt and an orange baseball cap with a black brim. Words on the front of the cap cannot be made out.

Authorities say that a gunman abducted Violet Ripken from the garage of her home in Aberdeen, northeast of Baltimore, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. Police said he drove her around for hours and took her back home about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

On Thursday, police released more details, saying that the gunman drove Ripken to locations in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and in the western Maryland county of Frederick and Pennsylvania.

Police also are releasing details of Ripken’s vehicle, asking anyone who saw it Tuesday night into Wednesday morning to call Aberdeen Police at 410-836-5432. A reward of up to $2,000 is being offered.

The Lincoln Town Car is a 1998 model with Maryland license plate No. SMR 308. It has a blue and white Boys and Girls Club sticker and an American flag sticker — with the words “God Bless America” — on the bumper. Police said that during the kidnapping, a white shirt or covering was placed over the rear driver’s side window.

Aberdeen police also said the person in the photo is about 35 to 45 years old, stands about 5 feet 10 inches, has short brown hair, wears glasses, was clean shaven and smokes. Police have declined to say if took anything from Ripken or used her credit or debit cards, which can be traced.

Ripken’s family — synonymous with baseball in Maryland — did not know she was missing until a woman in the Baltimore suburb of Whitemarsh called police about 8:30 Tuesday night, after spotting a car parked on her property with a woman in the back seat. Police traced the license plate to Ripken’s car.


Violet Ripken's car. (Courtesey of Aberdeen Police)
Police said the gunman drove her back to Aberdeen and left her bound and in the car abandoned near her house. She was found about 6:15 a.m., about 45 minutes after a missing person alert was issued to the public. Police said Ripken, known as Vi, was not harmed.

Police from from several jurisdictions, including the FBI, are working on the case.

Violet Ripken’s other Cal Jr. is a Hall of Fame baseball player who broke Lou Gehrig’s streak by playing in 2,632 consecutive games, shattering the mark of 2,130. He has a minor league stadium named after him in Aberdeen and oversees a baseball dynasty in the state. His late father managed the Orioles, and his brother Billy also played for the team.

The Ripken family has not spoken publicly about the case but released a statement saying they’re happy Violet Ripken was not hurt during the ordeal.

By  |  05:27 PM ET, 07/26/2012

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