Three football players from Carver High School in Columbus‚Äîincluding one recruit offered scholarships by several Southeastern Conference programs–are charged in the theft of property from Georgia‚Äôs football locker room earlier this month.
Deion Jay Bonner and Marquise T. Hawkins were identified by police along with an unnamed juvenile on Monday. Warrants were issued for their arrest on Friday.
Bonner and Hawkins turned themselves into the Clarke County Jail this morning and were later released on bail.
Seven Georgia football players said they had iPhones, iPods and other devices stolen from their locker in the Butts-Mehre building on April 7 during an open house at the renovated building. The items taken were valued by police at an estimated $1,990.
Bonner, 18, is a junior defensive back recruit named to the Rivals 250 watch list for 2012.
Hawkins, 17, is a sophomore running back. The third person charged is 16 years old.
Carver coach Del McGee, who said he has talked with Georgia coach Mark Richt several times since the incident and apologized, said he had not been told that the Bulldogs will no longer recruit Bonner, ‚Äúbut I would assume that they wouldn‚Äôt.‚Äù
A Georgia spokesman declined to comment. Besides Georgia, Bonner had scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina and others.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think it will change, not from the schools that I‚Äôve talked to,‚Äù McGee said. ‚ÄúI just think things will be monitored from here on out and see how he progresses over the course of this year.
The three players have been “suspended from the team at this time,” according to Valerie Fuller of the Muscogee County School District. They face other possible disciplinary administrative action from the district.
McGee said all three will be suspended at a minimum for the first five games this season and serve community service and have other obligations during that time frame.
‚ÄúI‚Äôd like to apologize on behalf of our school and Muscogee County that this incident happened,‚Äù McGee said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not really reflective of what we encompass as a school and I‚Äôm definitely embarrassed by the situation.‚Äù
Bonner and Hawkins were booked into the jail before 9:10 a.m. this morning and released after posting bonds about an hour and a half later, according to the jail’s online police booking report.
Bonner is charged with one count of theft by taking. He posted a $1,500 bond. Hawkins is charged with two counts of theft by taking. He posted bonds totaling $3,000. The juvenile is charged with three counts of theft by taking. All the charges are misdemeanors.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre not bad kids,‚Äù McGee said. ‚ÄúThey haven‚Äôt caused us any problems in the classroom or on the field or off the field. It‚Äôs a very, very shocking ordeal to happen.‚Äù
Search warrants were served in Muscogee County and some of the stolen property was recovered.
‚ÄúWe went to Columbus last week based on some information we gathered here and information we got off Facebook,‚Äù UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson said. ‚ÄúI understand that we recovered all the iPods, but we didn‚Äôt recover the iPhones. They had already been sold and changed hands several times.‚Äù
Georgia has two signees from its 2011 recruiting class from Carver, including top tailback prospect Isaiah Crowell. Southern Cal transfer Jarvis Jones, who also played at Carver, is now a starting linebacker for the Bulldogs.
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