- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2005

District police chief Charles H. Ramsey met with RFK Stadium officials to review the stadium’s security situation in the wake of a daylight crime that saw 12 cars broken into and Washington Nationals outfielder Marlon Byrd’s Cadillac Escalade stolen from the players’ parking lot while the club was on a nine-game road trip earlier in the week.

Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission, invited Ramsey and Deputy Chief Michael J. Fitzgerald to watch stadium security tapes and inspect the parking lot. Tuohey also said the stadium plans to immediately upgrade security by moving the players’ lot out of public view, erecting a new fence around the lot, installing more video cameras, increasing security personnel and adding more lights and a electronic card entry system.

“Unfortunately, the bad guys got in and took advantage of a situation — whether there was a security presence or not — in broad daylight. We’re going to make sure that never happens again,” Tuohey said.

As of yesterday afternoon, Byrd’s Escalade had yet to be recovered. Additionally, Ramsey’s Ford Crown Victoria was stolen last week from a street near his home in Southwest and has not been found.

“We’ll figure out who is responsible, whether or not it’s a crew that is local here, or if this is something of a lot more professional ring, kids — we just don’t know that yet, but we’ll find out,” Ramsey said. “I’m not quite sure of all the evidence that we have, I do know that some has been sent to the Secret Service for enhancement. In the meantime, the focus of our visit was to take a look at the security as it currently exists and make some suggestions and recommendations.”

Only American-made cars were targeted by the thieves despite the existence of a number of expensive foreign cars in the parking lot. Ramsey said the high demand for American car parts on the black market is why just domestic makes were broken into.

Through mid-June, the Metropolitan Police recorded 2,759 auto thefts in the District, down 29 percent from the 3,880 in a similar period last year. Items taken from cars in the RFK break-ins included CDs, clothing, cash and credit cards.

“If something happens, you don’t want it to happen again,” Ramsey said. “You would be remiss if you didn’t take a look at it to find out what did [the thieves] see that they took advantage of and what do we need to do to correct that. That’s what thieves do. They target opportunity, and they see opportunity where you don’t.”

Tuohey said he will wait until the investigation is complete before any disciplinary action is taken against RFK security officers who were on duty at the time.

Road to recovery

Right-hander Zach Day declared himself 100 percent healthy after a bullpen session.

Day, who is on the disabled list, threw 75 pitches before last night’s game and said he felt no soreness. He is scheduled to throw in a simulated game Tuesday. After that, Day said he’ll most likely go on a rehab assignment.

“We haven’t [planned] anything past Tuesday, but I’m excited how I feel,” Day said.

The Nationals’ sinkerballer was involved in trade talks with the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Preston Wilson and the Florida Marlins for veteran outfielder Juan Encarnacion. All talks ended when Day was diagnosed with a broken right forearm after being struck by a line drive last month.

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said he had a deal in place the morning it was discovered that Day had a broken arm.

Extra bases

Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals’ first-round draft pick (fourth overall) was promoted to Class AA Harrisburg after starting his professional career at Class A Savannah of the South Atlantic League. In four games with the Sand Gnats, the third baseman went 8-for-17 (.471) with two home runs, a triple, two doubles and six RBI. In Harrisburg’s 8-6 home victory over Akron last night, he went 3-for-4 with a double and scored two runs. … The Nationals agreed to terms with Ryan DeLaughter. The outfielder, from Ryan (Texas) High School, was drafted in the fifth round.

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