An avid Redskins fan, the 15-year-old Glen Burnie teen-ager receivedhis team's athletic jacket as a gift from his stepfather. With a price tag of $120, it was the teen's most prized possession.
The ninth-grader at Glen Burnie High School believes the two teen-agers who robbed him of his jacket last Tuesday in the parking lot of the schooldid it because the Redskins had won the NFC championship that week -- a win that propelled them to the Super Bowl.
But the Redskins are not the only team some people are willing tosteal for. The boy's jacket is one of at least seven warm-up jacketsstolen in the county in the last month, police say.
Like pricey designer tennis shoes a few years ago, team jackets are a new fad in crime as well as fashion. They sell in malls and specialty sporting goods stores for anywhere from $100 to $200.
"They seem to be reallypopular," said Officer V. Richard Molloy, a county police spokesman.
The problem is some people don't want to pay the high cost of being fashionable.
Molloy said investigators do not believe the robberies are related, and police have arrested two teen-agers in connection with a Jan. 9 robbery of a jacket. They were both charged with battery and robbery, police said.
The most recent jacket robberies occurred at 10 p.m. Saturday when a group of at least six teen-agers took two 15-year-olds' jackets in the parking lot of a Subway sandwich shop on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie, police said.
The group walked up to the two boys, and one of the assailants punched one of the boys in the face before they turned over the jackets, police said.
The group got into a car and drove off toward Crain Highway, police said.
Last Wednesday, police said, about 15 teen-agers stole two starter jackets from two Glen Burnie High School students.
About 2:20 p.m., two 16-year-olds were walking on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard when they were approached by the group of teens, who wanted their Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Raiders jackets.
When the boys refused, one teen-ager in the crowd said he had a gun, and the owners of the jackets turned them over.
The owner of the Redskins jacket who was robbed last Tuesday said, "There was nothing I could do. There were two against me. I'd rather give up my jacket than be beat up."
Although the jackets would be expensive to replace, the boys did the right thing, police say.
"To avoid being hurt, give them the jacket," Molloy said. "And get a good description of them so they can be caught."
But even better advice, Molloy says, is to avoid walking alone or after dark.