published Friday, April 20th, 2012

Burglaries were for five months

The status of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football players Clim Robbins and Deron "T.J." Thompson, who were arrested Wednesday night on multiple aggravated burglary and felony theft charges, has not changed, coach Russ Huesman said.

The two freshmen already were suspended from the team and Huesman said Thursday that he didn't have anything new to add. He said he was waiting to see what happens with their court cases.

Huesman had suspended the cornerbacks in late February after learning of the alleged thefts, which began not long after classes began in the fall semester and continued into February. UTC police first interviewed Thompson and Robbins on Feb. 26, according to the UTC arrest report summary. In the report, the players "admitted to going into several apartments from September 2011 to February 2012."

The subsequent investigation resulted in the charges for alleged thefts at multiple on-campus residential complexes, including Boling Apartments. Among the items taken were laptop computers, video game consoles and a bicycle. Eighteen charges were levied against each player: nine counts of aggravated burglary, five counts of felony theft of more than $1,000 and four of more than $500, according to the arrest report.

UTC police chief Robert Ratchford said Robbins and Thompson participated during the investigation and "were cooperative." That cooperation led to the recovery of "quite a bit of property," Ratchford said, adding that UTC police are trying to track down more items and the investigation is not complete.

"It's kind of an ongoing investigation, but we figured at this point in time we'd go ahead and get the ball rolling," he said. "The information that we had was enough to put the charges after conferring with the [Hamilton County] district attorney's office."

The investigation, Ratchford said, started out small and kept growing, which is why it took several weeks for charges to be filed.

"The amount of investigation it required is the reason for the length of time it took," he said. "Basically we wanted to make sure it was as thorough and complete as we can, and the more we got into the investigation, the more involved it became. That's why there were numerous charges. Basically from one offense it kind of grew to these parties allegedly being responsible for numerous thefts that occurred."

Robbins and Thompson are scheduled to appear Monday in Hamilton County General Sessions Court.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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