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February 17, 2015

Former Phantoms enforcer arrested for shoplifting at Vineland Home Depot

Phantoms Crime
021714_homedepot_ap Chuck Burton/AP

Former Phantoms enforcer Frank 'The Animal' Bialowas was arrested for stealing a dimmer switch from a Home Depot.

Frank Bialowas -- better known during his playing days as "The Animal" due to the fact that what he did best was fight -- must have been really set on getting some odd jobs done around the house.

The former Philadelphia* Phantoms enforcer, who was part of the team's Calder Cup title run in 1998, was arrested in Vineland, N.J. Tuesday for attempting to steal a light dimmer from Home Depot. 

*They're now the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

More from J. Staas Haught of the Courier-Post:

Frank Bialowas, 44, of Williamstown, was charged with shoplifting after he was reportedly observed concealing a $54 dimmer switch, "to avoid paying for it," according to a police report. 
Bialowas, of the 1600 block of New Brooklyn Road in Williamstown, was processed and released on a summons.  [via]

This makes me sad for a few reasons, chief among them the fact that he wasn't stealing something expensive -- at least that I could wrap my head around -- but rather a light switch that you can get for under $10 dollars. I also remember going to a lot of Phantoms games as a kid, and every time, I'd bet my dad that Bialowas would get into a fight. I'd win about 99 percent of time.

And sometimes, he'd even incite a bench-clearing brawl, including a goalie fight:

He was so good, in fact, that he dabbled in pro boxing following his hockey career.

The Animal, a member of the Phantoms Hall of Fame, is scheduled to make an appearance at Saturday night's Phantoms game as part of a Legends Night promotion. Previously, the team held similar promotions for Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke.

As of Tuesday evening, the team was still promoting the event of its website:

No word on if they'll scrap the event, but I'd be surprised if it didn't go on as scheduled.