The professional baseball players who were killed in a car crash in Venezuela on Thursday actually rolled their car in a highway robbery gone wrong, according to officials and new reports.
Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo died when the car overturned while trying to avoid a rock placed in their path by roadside bandits, while two other teammates, Carlos Rivero and Raúl Álvarez, survived with injuries, El Nuevo Herald reports.
The thieves then stripped the players of their belongings, according to the paper.
Authorities later arrested four people who were allegedly found with the loot, the local governor said.
“We want the public to know that we have succeeded in DETAINING 4 individuals that were found with some of the belongings of the Major League Baseball players,” tweeted Julio León Heredia, the governor of Yaracuy state.
Placing rocks in the road to force motorists to stop is a common trick used by bandits in Venezuela, according to El Nuevo Herald.
Both of the slain athletes had previously played in MLB — Valbuena, 33, was released from the Los Angeles Angels in August, while Castillo, 37, most recently played for the Houston Astros.
Rivero, 30, also had a brief stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2014.
All four men were members of Barquisimeto’s pro team Cardenales de Lara.
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