Cobb County

SunTrust Park worker accused of digging through Braves pitcher's car

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A SunTrust Park worker is out of jail after he was accused of rooting around the vehicle of a Braves pitcher in the players' parking lot.

The Cobb County Police Department arrested Michael Ford on April 17 after opening weekend.

Ford is a food service worker at SunTrust Park.

According to a warrant obtained by Channel 2's Ross Cavitt, Ford stuck his arm into the Jeep Wrangler belonging to Braves closer Jim Johnson and started to root around the vehicle.

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However, Ford's arrest was one of only a handful of arrests during the first seven games at the new ballpark.

"Think about it. Kennesaw has a population of about 30,000 people, the stadium seats about 40,000. It’s like having a little city compressed into the stadium 80 nights a year," former prosecutor and defense attorney Grady Moore said.

Moore said most at the courthouse complex expected courtrooms to be crowded with misdemeanor charges from the ballpark.

In the first seven games, there have only three, possibly a fourth, arrest from the park. A Smyrna man was the first arrest, charged with four misdemeanors for essentially drunk and disorderly conduct.

Police also tell Cavitt there was a DUI or two.
 
Ford, the food service worker, has the only felony charge.

It's a long season, but so far the new stadium has only slightly bumped up Cobb County's crime stats.

"From a strictly professional point of view there were a lot defense attorneys thinking we might get a lot of business coming out of SunTrust Park, but if these numbers hold up and there's not a significant increase," Moore said.