That new defibrillator stolen from a Rohnert Park baseball field equipment shed won't do the thief any good and Cal Ripken Baseball officials would like it back.

The $1,500 heart-starting machine disappeared late last week from the shed at the city park in the A section of town, probably while coaches and league officials were nearby.

"They didn't pry the doors open. Someone came in while we were working on the field, getting ready for the kids," said Aaron Johnson, league director of operations. "They came in and swiped it."

"I could totally understand if it was a generator or a pitching machine or tools, but a defibrillator.<TH>.<TH>." said Johnson, who also is a Rohnert Park police sergeant. "It's not just financial, it truly has a priceless value if you need it."

Rohnert Park's Cal Ripken league last spring became an strong proponent of having a defibrillator on hand after a pitch hit an 8-year-old batter in the chest.

The boy collapsed on his way to first base and he needed CPR and a defibrillator to save his life. He made an apparent full recovery and just finished a season of basketball and is ready for spring baseball, said Johnson.

After the life-threatening incident, league officials deemed it necessary to have one of the portable machines at each Rohnert Park baseball site.

Opening day is less than a month away and 730 kids and their parents and grandparents will be flooding the four parks as games get rolling.

"We want it there for the people who need it," said Johnson, who surmised the thief may not have known what it was they were taking.

Even if they did, a defibrillator only works on a person with a specific critical heart problem. And replacing used parts, necessary after each use, also requires specific information.

Johnson said he's hoping the person who took it will drop it off at a public building in town or give it to a friend to drop off, perhaps with an anonymous note saying it should be returned to the local Cal Ripken league.

If it doesn't show up league officials plan to buy another one.

SOS CPR of Rohnert Park gave the league its first defibrillator and the league purchased three more.

They also purchased a fourth one recently and gave it to the local Babe Ruth baseball league as a way to pay forward the gift from SOS CPR, Johnson said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or