Monday, April 06, 2009

Again, When Saying Nothing Is Better

Mayor Greg Ballard's office put out a press release this morning describing how he became a mugging victim while attending the NCAA Final Four games in Detroit this weekend. The press release reads:

Mayor Greg Ballard had his cell phone stolen Saturday evening while in Detroit, Mich. for the NCAA Final Four tournament.

According to police reports, Mayor Ballard was walking back to his hotel after the asketball game on Saturday evening when a man acted as if he were having a seizure. At that point, Mayor Ballard went to offer assistance to the man on the ground. Upon doing so, two to three other male subjects immediately surrounded the mayor at which time one of the subjects reached into Mayor Ballard's pocket and stole his cell phone.

The man whom Mayor Ballard was attempting to help then suddenly got up and fled the scene with the other subjects. Almost immediately, Mayor Ballard realized that his phone had been taken.

The Detroit Police Department was notified. They believe the perpetrators are from out of town and had come to Detroit to prey on the large crowds in town for the NCAA tournament.
Initially, you can't help but laugh a little at the Mayor for falling for this old trick. I think I would have went on about my way and said as little about the incident as possible. News reporting of this incident will draw attention to the fact that the Mayor traveled outside the City yet again on a sports-related junket. He's taken in two Super Bowl games during his first two years in office. The argument for attending the Super Bowl has been to aid him in the City's hosting of its first Super Bowl in 2012. The City has hosted several Final Four games and has successfully mastered that event. So why did he attend the Final Four in Detroit? Who paid for the trip?

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Mayor says the Mayor paid for his own transportation costs and hotel. His tickets were given to him by the NCAA. The Mayor's security detail did not accompany him on the trip.

UPDATE II: A story in today's Star by Brendan O'Shaughnessy adds a few new facts to this story. Mayor Ballard was accompanied by wife Winnie on the trip. They drove their car to Detroit. Following the pick-pocket incident, the Mayor summoned a member of his security detail to Detroit to offer protection to him and his wife for the remainder of the trip. Also, Detroit police say they warned the public about the presence of pick pockets in the area of the Final Four.


Wilson46201 said...

There's more to this story: why would an organized bunch of thugs be snatching cellphones? How much would a hot cellphone fetch on the street? Maybe enough for one small rock of crack? Mighty slim pickings! So what else of value was stolen? Wallet? Watch?

Publicist Robert Vane is no dummy -- he's smart enough to know there's no news in the stated story. So why did he issue this peculiar release? What really happened and why are they covering it up?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Must have been a heck of a cell phone. Cell phones are so cheap anymore, thiefs are generally not interested in them.

Indy4U2C said...

Nobody visits Wayne County, MI, murder capital of the world unarmed. Where were his bodyguards?

-It's worse than Gary, IN!

Paul K. Ogden said...

He took his bodyguard to China, but not to Detroit?

Anonymous said...

This is too funny. Has anyone tried calling Ballards number? Maybe "Savannah" or "Starr" might answer? Or worse - "Chad" or "Owen".(gulp!)
The moral of this story:
Sticks and stones
may break Greg's bones,
but when Starr is workin
keep your eyes on your phone.
And I think I know how all this rolled out:
"I have scratches, honey? What scratches? Oh yeah, those. Ummmm... didn't I tell you? I got mugged in Detroit by a gang who came out of nowhere. ....and one of them was a parapalegic. That's right - he couldn't walk and he had a whole posse that jumped me when I tried to be a good samaritan. That's exactly how it happened - I swear to God. The bastards risked jail to get my phone. I'm gonna file a police report and issue a press release to prove it."

artfuggins said...

Maybe he was traveling with Randall Tobias!!

Unknown said...

I'm astonished he was allowed to travel to Detroit of all places without a security detail. Did anyone do an advance of the sites he would be visiting? How about threat/vulnerability/risk assessments? Amazing.

Downtown Indy said...

Funny? This is what we can expect next year and the year after will probably be much worse when the superbowl comes.

As long as people are speculating, perhaps we can speculate Wilson, Shorebreak and Art set it all up as an unwinnable situation: Get your pocket picked and get laughed at or do nothing and get slammed for ignoring an 'ill' person.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

The story only gets "better" with each retelling.

In today's Star, the mayor's wife is with him, and the city sends up a bodyguard after the mugging.

By the pricking of my thumbs...there's gonna be yet another chapter in this saga!

Anonymous said...


I'll admit that my story is fictional when Mayor Ballard admits that his campaign platform was fictional. Fair is fair, right?

FYI - I was mugged once by four guys - two confronted me with knives, then two snuck up behind me and attacked with large wrenches. I was their 7th victim that night. When I finished their attack, two of them were taken to the hospital (one was unconscious and one needed some level of surgery) and two were taken to jail. I got lucky b/c I very easily could have been killed if the police hadn't been one block away.

So I know and understand how a mugging can be traumatic. I also know that it can be easy for a good-natured person to become a victim in todays society. In the mayors case, since there was no physical harm involved I figured I'd have a little bit of fun.

Yeah, it was probably overboard and undeserved, but I'm willing to take it back - immediately after the mayor retracts his campaign platform.

artfuggins said...

Something tells me that there are more chapters of this story still to come......something doesn't pass the smell test?

Progress is being made. Indydowntown admits now that Wilson and Art are not the same person.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

...and, another thing: evidently Ballard wasn't targeted by the pickpockets because he was mayor of Indianapolis.

So...the security guard didn't really need to travel to Detroit to "protect" his honor after the attack.

Unless, EVERY visitor to Detroit needs a security guard...but that's another story entirely!