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Thursday, January 20, 2005
$18,000 worth of equipment recovered

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Six current and former South Carolina football players were charged Thursday with stealing $18,000 worth of equipment from Williams-Brice Stadium last November.

Offensive lineman Woodly Telfort is charged with grand larceny, a felony. He admitted to investigators he took a $4,000 laptop, according to an arrest warrant.

Quarterbacks Syvelle Newton and Dondrial Pinkins have been charged with a misdemeanor, petit larceny, along with defensive lineman Freddy Saint-Preux and safety Rodriques Wilson.

Arrest warrants say all four players took action photos of themselves from the South Carolina locker room area of the stadium and have confessed to the theft.

A warrant is pending for a sixth player the school did not identify.

A total of $18,000 worth of computer and video equipment and framed photographs were taken from the stadium on Nov. 22, shortly after the Gamecocks were told they would not go to a bowl as punishment for an on-field brawl with Clemson.

"Regrettably, a few of our student-athletes made a very poor decision during the course of a frustrating situation, and they must now face the consequences," athletic director Mike McGee said.

Newton is a rising junior and started several games for South Carolina last year. Saint-Preux, who was injured much of this season and Telfort, who saw extensive play as a reserve in 2004, will be seniors next year and have already been suspended for the Gamecocks opener Sept. 1 against Central Florida because of their involvement in the brawl with Clemson.

All three will now be suspended at least until the charges are resolved, McGee said.

Along with criminal charges, Telfort, Newton, Pinkins and Saint-Preux will face disciplinary hearings from the university. Wilson is no longer a student at South Carolina.

Telephone calls placed to four of the players were not answered; one player was not listed. They were expected to be arraigned in Richland County bond court Thursday evening.

New coach Steve Spurrier said he will support the decisions of campus police and prosecutors as the case moves forward.

"Hopefully, we'll never have a situation like this happen again," Spurrier said.

The three laptop computers and two video projectors taken have been returned, and most if not all of the 12 framed pictures that were missing are back, the school said.