|ESPN.com: OTL||[Print without images]|
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The Boca Raton Police Department has reopened a burglary and theft investigation over documents allegedly taken from the whistle-blower in the Biogenesis of America performance-enhancing drug scandal, a police official told "Outside the Lines" on Wednesday.
Porter Fischer blew open the Biogenesis case when he turned over boxes of clinic documents to the Miami New Times last year. The initial disclosure, as well as documents subsequently obtained by "Outside the Lines" from other sources, played a pivotal role in the suspensions to date of 14 major league players, including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta.
Rodriguez is appealing his suspension.
Fischer told "Outside the Lines" this summer that on March 24, while transporting a different set of documents, his car was broken into and four of the seven boxes he had were stolen. A Boca Raton Police Department report of the incident states a handgun and a laptop also were stolen.
According to the report, the break-in of Fischer's car occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 12:47 p.m. March 24 while Fischer was inside a tanning salon, Boca Tanning. Fischer told "Outside the Lines" that he had told a friend, Gary Jones, 54, that he was headed to the tanning salon that day and was bringing along documents.
Jones, a tanning bed repairman who has no connection to the Biogenesis clinic or founder Tony Bosch but who serviced beds at Boca Tanning, parked his van alongside Fischer's rental car and said he also suffered a break-in, his laptop being stolen. He declined to file an incident report with police.
ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews reported Wednesday on two payments made by Rodriguez associates and Major League Baseball related to the allegedly stolen documents: that MLB officials paid $150,000 for the documents, and that A-Rod associates paid Jones $200,000 for a video he had made of MLB officials paying him for the records. Rodriguez has tried during his ongoing arbitration hearing regarding his 211-game suspension to show that MLB has tainted the evidence-gathering process against him.
According to a police report, Jones told a Boca Raton police investigator that he "did not steal anything from anyone and did not break into Fischer's car … he did not see or have any information related to the burglary." Jones also told the investigator that he had not spoken with Rodriguez or MLB officials. Attempts to reach Jones by "Outside the Lines" this week were unsuccessful.
Police took DNA evidence from blood found in Fischer's car on April 2. The results were not available by the time Boca Raton police declared the case "inactive" on May 20, however.
Boca Raton police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg on Wednesday said police decided to restart their investigation after learning of the alleged document payments from a civil lawsuit filed this month by A-Rod. She had no further comment Wednesday other than noting that the investigation would be restarted and that investigators had never heard from MLB officials or Rodriguez associates. Of the results of the DNA evidence, she said: "We have been told we will have it in a few weeks."
Bosch and other associates in and outside his Biogenesis clinic are under federal and state investigation, although the feds have taken the lead in looking at:
• Whether Bosch acted in the role of a physician (he is not licensed as one).
• How his clinic obtained and administered human growth hormone, steroids and other drugs.
• And whether teenagers were provided performance-enhancing drugs. In July, "Outside the Lines" reported that sources said Bosch had provided teens with PEDs.
The Biogenesis clinic was shuttered last year, but prior to that, Bosch was connected with several other clinics, including Biokem, which was located on the same site as Biogenesis, across from the University of Miami campus.