NEW YORK, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A recent crime wave in New York has featured a curious phenomenon -- a spate of suspects wearing Yankee baseball caps or clothing, police say.
Gym-locker heists, bank robberies and daylight holdups have been committed by suspects with one thing in common -- their Yankee baseball caps, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Yankees attire is worn by law-abiding citizens and lawbreakers alike, since the Yankees are one of the most famous and heavily merchandised franchises in sports, with their popular merchandise widely available, the Times said.
But the team's caps and clothing show up in mug shots and crime reports with startling frequency.
Since 2000 more than 100 people connected with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment, the Times reported.
Criminologists, sports marketing analysts, consumer psychologists and Yankees fans have their theories, with some attributing the trend to the popularity of the caps among gangsta rappers.
Rapper Jay-Z has worn a Yankees cap for years on his album covers and in his videos and has helped turn the cap into a ubiquitous fashion accessory for urban youths.
True-blue Yankee fans aren't happy about the attention the team garb is getting.
"It's a shame," Chuck Frantz, 57, president of the 430-member Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club in Pennsylvania, said. "It makes us Yankees fans look like criminals, because of a few unfortunate people who probably don't know the first thing about the Yankees."