UGA football recruit suspected in dormitory burglary

Police are withholding the identity of the alleged offender — described only as an “out-of-state visitor” — pending further investigation and/or legal action.

“We do have the person identified,” UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We know him to be visiting our campus as a football recruit. How he got access to the residence hall, an access-controlled facility, was he was spending the night with two other football players. He was bunked out with these two other football players for the night.”

Georgia hosted hundreds of recruits and campers this past Friday in an annual event known as “Dawg Night.” The Bulldogs garnered four commitments — two for the Class of 2015 and two for 2016 — during that event but Williamson said none of those individuals are the accused.

According to an incident report released to the AJC on Monday, UGA Police were dispatched to Rooker Hall in the East Campus Village area of campus in reference to a burglary that occurred in Busbee Hall early Saturday morning. Two female residents who are also UGA athletes reported they were awakened about 7:30 a.m. Saturday when an unknown black male entered their unlocked residence without permission and stole a wallet containing credit cards and an iPhone5 cell phone.

Williamson said an investigation of the incident and previous night’s activities led to the identification of the suspect. By the time the police contacted UGA football administrators, the suspect had already left campus to return to Florida.

“Coach (Mark) Richt is aware of the incident over the weekend and the UGA Police are handling the appropriate police investigation,” UGA spokesman Claude Felton said.

This is not the first time a theft occurred during a recruiting visit. In 2011, Georgia football recruit Deion Bonner was among three suspects arrested for a theft from the Bulldogs’ locker room at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. Bonner, a 2012 recruit from Columbus, eventually signed with Tennessee and was dismissed by the Vols in 2013.

Depending on the suspect’s age, Williamson said the police could execute a warrant for his arrest. Extradition is unlikely.

Williams wanted to make sure parents of UGA students know there is not a burglar on the loose on campus.

“The person we think may be responsible for this, every indication is that they had legitimate access to the residence hall,” Williamson said. “They got access by being a visitor with other students. That visitor lives out of state, so our investigation is ongoing, but the person we feel is responsible had a legitimate reason to be there and was there as a guest. We know his current residence to be somewhere in South Florida.”

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