Guard Busted for Stealing at Shea

By Tim Minton
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 4:45 PM EDT
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Guard Busted for Stealing at Shea

Mr. Met wasn't happy about the incident.

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It's the only time somebody ever stole second at Shea Stadium and got busted by the cops.

Gerald Tacopino was supposed to be keeping fans from taking memorabilia in the final days before Shea was shut down for good after the Mets' season in 2008. But the freelance guard got greedy, or maybe just nostalgic. He took seats and bases that otherwise could have been sold.
 
Guards were hired after the Mets announced a policy of zero tolerance for thefts. The club's defense against larceny turned out to be more efficient than its ability to stop the Dodgers and Phillies during the rest of that year.
 
Tacopino was caught and Wednesday pleaded guilty to petit larceny. He admitted selling bases and stadium seats on eBay and was fined $500 plus restitution to the Mets of another $842.50.

If the 44 year-old Brooklyn school bus driver stays out of trouble for the next six months, he won't go to jail.  A search of Tacopino's home resulted in a seizure of additional stolen Mets memorabilia, including 23 caps, jackets, shirts and seat back cushions.

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