Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AU Players confess to armed robbery, two remain in custody, what’s in the safe?

image According to various media reports, all four of the Auburn players arrested last week have made a rights-advised confession to armed robbery.

Two of the four—Dakota Mosley and Michael McNeil—posted bond and have been released from custody. The other two—Antonio Goodwin and Shaun Kitchens—remain behind bars. The four have been charged with five felony counts of armed robbery and burglary after allegedly using “multiple handguns” to forcibly enter an occupied dwelling and demanding property from the occupants.

Court documents state that the alleged perps stole cell phones and a handheld safe, all of which was recovered from Mosley’s getaway vehicle.

What’s interesting is that none of the media reports describe the contents of the handheld safe. IBCR has heard reports that the contents of that safe were of particular interest to the defendants; that the cell phones were taken to slow down the victims’ ability to alert authorities and that detectives are interested in interviewing at least one more subject, or have done so already.

What’s also interesting is that none of the four have yet been charged with illegal or unlicensed firearms possession, meaning that at least one of the registerable weapons used in the heist belonged to one of the defendants.

Alabama law on handgun permits is clear. You don’t need a permit to have your weapon in your domicile. But if you carry that weapon on your person or in your vehicle, you must have a pistol permit. Had any of the weapons used in the alleged crime been unpermitted, another count reflecting that would have been added to the charges.

These are already serious charges—first degree robbery and burglary are Class A felonies under Alabama criminal law and the defendants face possible prison terms of ten to life, and gun crimes typically carry even harsher sentences.

We have football players cruising trailer parks, armed with licensed handguns, holding up residents and stealing their property? 

This is not an Auburn thing. If you read the Sports Illustrated/CBS story published earlier this month, criminal activity—often violent criminal activity—has seemingly erupted at college campuses across the country, and many of the violations are alleged to have been perpetrated by student-athletes. Some publications countered that the SI/CBS story wasn’t “fair,”  noting that the percentage of college athletes with criminal backgrounds is probably less than the national average for people of the same age, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

The point still stands however that incidents like the one that occurred in an Auburn trailer park are damaging to the sport of college football and particularly damaging to the image of the average student athlete.

One (or four) bad apples can indeed spoil the bunch.