Five years out, police haven’t nabbed the suspect who abducted Vi Ripken at gunpoint and left her in the back seat of her own car. Now, they’ve turned to a sketch artist to reignite the investigation.
See Exhibit A above. This is what the Aberdeen Police Department says Ripken’s captor looks like in 2017, based on a time-lapse from his picture in 2012. (See Exhibit B below.)
That July, police say this man forced Vi Ripken, then 74, into the back seat of her silver Lincoln Continental and blindfolded her. He proceeded to drive her car around in Harford and Baltimore counties with her in the back for 24 hours, periodically using her credit cards at rest stops. Then, he drove her back to her house. She was found physically unharmed.
In the aftermath, police said they had “a lot of leads” on their man. Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. and his family offered up $100,000 to whoever could help police arrest the suspect, all to no avail. Police also released a surveillance video showing the guy at a Wal Mart.
Strangely, a little over a year later, Vi Ripken almost fell victim to another attack, that time by 33-year-old Jesse Bowen of Havre de Grace. Police said Bowen approached her with a handgun and tried to steal her car, but fled when she hit the panic button. Authorities were able to track him down using a shot from an ATM camera. He was charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted armed carjacking, possessing a dangerous weapon, first-degree assault and multiple drug offenses.
Four years since, Vi Ripken is around to watch her descendants accomplish big things. However, it’s still nagging at authorities that they never caught the kidnapper in the 2012 case. The FBI is assisting with the renewed effort.
Anyone with information about the man portrayed in the above sketch is urged to call the FBI at (410) 265-8080, or Aberdeen Police Det. John Divel at 410-272-2121, ext. 132.
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