By Tom Warner (Baltimore Or Less)
What is it with Vi Ripkin's car and carjackers? Or rather, WTF? I mean, the woman lives in down-homey aberdeen, Maryland – a town of 15,000 where residents claim “everybody knows everybody” – not in a crime-plagued urban center like Baltimore.
The Associated Press, Baltimore Sun and other media outlets reported yesterday that an armed man once again approached major league baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr.'s mother and demanded her car. But this time, the 75-year-old Vi Ripkin hit her car key's “Panic” alarm to thwart the would-be carjacker, who fled the scene.
According to the AP, Mrs. Ripken wasn't hurt in Tuesday's incident that occurred at 3 p.m. in a bank parking lot in Aberdeen, Maryland, and a suspect is now in custody. Aberdeen police say the suspect tried to use the bank's ATM before the encounter and that hours after recovering an ATM photo of the man, they tracked down 33-year-old Jesse Bowen of Havre de Grace, and charged him with with attempted armed robbery, attempted armed car jacking, possessing a dangerous weapon, first-degree assault and controlled substance-related charges in connection with the incident.
Last year, Vi Ripken was kidnapped at gunpoint from her Aberdeen home and returned unharmed 24 hours later. Police said Bowen is not a suspect in that abduction and no one has been arrested to date in that case, for which Cal Ripkin, Jr. has offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
“It's terrifying in some ways to think that two things could happen to her in this span of time, but Mom is a strong lady,” Ripkin told Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina (twitter.com/EddieInTheYard). “She refuses to allow these incidents to affect her life.” (For more on Cal's reaction, see Encina's October 17 Sun article.)
For more on the the bizarre recurrence of criminal attacks on Vi Ripkin, see Justin George and Nayana Davis' excellent report “Aberdeen perplexed by attacks on Vi Ripkin” in the October 16 Baltimore Sun.