By David Noss
CALIFORNIA, Md. (November 11, 2010)Abe Batal, 18, of Dunkirk, Calvert County, was identified by Naval criminal investigators as the individual who was selling baseball-related items
on eBay which were stolen from the U.S. Naval Academy's Bishop Baseball Stadium in Annapolis on Sept. 16. The allegations are made in a recently unsealed federal search warrant filed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
The items taken during the burglary were the personal property of the Midshipmen who play on the Navy's baseball team, and property of the federal government, according to the search warrant.
An inventory of items seized, released by the government, takes three pages to list 117 items confiscated from Batal's residence on Ashwood Drive.
There is no record of any arrests being made in the case, reports the Baltimore Sun.
Investigators say they were tipped off by "several concerned persons" who reported they saw pictures of stolen property being auctioned off on eBay.
Investigators obtained the eBay userID, registered email account, phone number, and general location which they used to track down Batal's street address.
Investigators then set up undercover accounts on eBay and successfully bid on a baseball glove that had unique markings put there by the owner, a Navy baseball player identified only as "JM." The Smoking Gun identified "JM" as Josh Moore.
After receiving the stolen merchandise, investigators tracked the package back to the shipper, Dunkirk Pack N Ship.
Documents indicate investigators met with Dunkirk Pack N Ship owners Leanne and Rodney Githens, who cooperated and provided information about other items that Batal allegedly shipped via their store. Investigators presented a photograph lineup of Batal, obtained from his MVA
record, and eight other "similarly looking individuals" to Leann Githens. Investigators say she identified Batal as the individual who shipped the items under investigation.
The Smoking Gun identified Batal's Facebook page as
www.facebook.com/abe.laflare. As of publication time, Batal has 1,082 facebook friends. He identifies himself as self-employed and having attended Riverdale Baptist School, Huntingtown High School, and Northern High School.
You can read more at the
Baltimore Sun and
The Smoking Gun (which also has a scanned copy of the search warrant and inventory of items recovered from Batal's residence).