The U.S. Marshals have determined that the guy sitting behind home plate at a Dodgers game that everyone thought might be one of America’s most-wanted fugitives was not, in fact, one of America’s most-wanted fugitives. ABC News reported the development on Thursday.
Prior to the Dodgers’ wild card game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals disseminated a telecast still of a 2016 Dodgers game that featured a fan who bears a striking resemblance to John Ruffo, who in 1998 was staring down 17 years in prison for bank fraud when he vanished. He hasn’t been seen since.
But in 2016, Ruffo’s cousin was watching a Dodgers-Red Sox game when he thought he saw John sitting behind home plate. He paused the feed and called the U.S. Marshals, who enlisted the Dodgers to embark on a wild-goose chase trying to track down the identity of the portly bald man sitting in the Section 1 Dugout Club, Row EE, Seat 10. The original owner of the ticket had given it away, and authorities were unable to track down the identity of the man who ended up with it.
The release the Marshals put out on Tuesday asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the man didn’t land them Ruffo, but it did allow them to confirm he wasn’t behind home plate in Dodgers Stadium five years ago. Not long the Marshals put out the ask, a relative of the man at the game contacted them to let them know their kin was not convicted of bank fraud totaling north of $350 million over 20 years ago.
The Marshals did a background check, and on Thursday visited the man at home to take his fingerprints to confirm he wasn’t the notorious fugitive. He wasn’t, bringing authorities back to square one, unaware of Ruffo’s whereabout and totally clueless as to his rooting interests as the Divisional Round of the MLB playoffs begins on Thursday.