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Missouri man stole MLB pitcher's identity to sell phony autographs, police say

James Leggate

Police in Missouri arrested a man who they said was claiming to be a retired MLB pitcher and selling phony autographs.

But while forgery rings in the past have used names of baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, such as the scammers famously broken up by the FBI’s Operation Bullpen in 2000, this alleged identity thief went in a different direction.

Police in the St. Louis suburb of Manchester said the man, who they didn’t name, had stolen the identity of Omar Olivares, a lesser-known pitcher whose career in the majors lasted from 1990 to 2001.

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“Investigation revealed that this subject had stolen Mr. Olivares’ identity and was using this ruse to sell ‘autographed’ baseballs and other memorabilia to unsuspecting fans,” Manchester police said in a Facebook post.

Olivares started his time in the MLB in St. Louis. He went on to also play for Colorado, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, Anaheim, Oakland and Pittsburgh. He had a career 4.67 ERA.

Since retiring from the Pirates in 2001, police said the real Olivares still lives in Pennsylvania.

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“He does not sell any sort of memorabilia in the St. Louis area,” police said.

The fake Olivares is facing charges of identity theft, stealing and forgery.

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