Major League Baseball ignored repeated warnings that records they sought in the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis scandal had been stolen and that they were not to purchase them, according to Florida investigators and an April police report obtained by Newsday.
MLB investigators bought Biogenesis records anyway, and a Boca Raton police detective investigating the theft noted that baseball officials neglected to notify law enforcement officials that they had done so for nearly eight months.
The police report, which has not been previously publicized, details how a detective’s investigation into the burglary of documents from a car parked outside a strip-mall tanning salon turned into an examination of whether MLB officials broke the law when they paid for records showing that players had used performance-enhancing drugs.
The investigation ended on April 11 with no criminal charges filed against anyone except Reginald St. Fleur, a tanning salon employee arrested months earlier after police said his DNA was found on the burglarized vehicle.
However, Det. Terrence Payne wrote in his report that there was also “evidence of involvement” by “several MLB investigators” and three other men — two brothers from Long Island and a felon whom MLB paid $125,000 in exchange for the stolen records.
Payne’s report is the latest in a series of unflattering revelations about MLB’s aggressive pursuit of evidence that Rodriguez and other players used performance-enhancing drugs provided by Anthony Bosch, the founder of the unlicensed Coral Gables anti-aging clinic Biogenesis.
In the face of legal challenges and public criticism from Rodriguez and others about how they handled their investigation, baseball officials have steadfastly denied that they knowingly bought stolen Biogenesis records.
“We have stated repeatedly that we had no knowledge that the documents we purchased were stolen,” MLB senior vice president of public relations Pat Courtney said Friday when contacted by Newsday about the Boca Raton police report.
Sandra Boonenberg, a spokeswoman for the Boca Raton Police Department, stated unequivocally that a Florida investigator “warned MLB not to purchase the documents” and that the investigator told their detective about that conversation “before the documents were purchased” by MLB. The Boca Raton Police Department had not informed MLB of the results of its investigation, Boonenberg said.
MLB officials have previously acknowledged that records from Bosch’s clinic were central to their PED investigation. The records documented Bosch’s illicit treatment of more than a dozen players, including Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, then-Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and then-Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.
The Boca Raton police report and MLB records subpoenaed in the department’s investigation shed light on MLB’s furtive attempts to score the coveted Biogenesis documents by dealing with several opportunistic tanning salon aficionados.
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