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Published: Saturday, 10/4/2008

3 Defiance College freshmen accused in burglary at BGSU

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Three Defiance College freshmen were arrested yesterday after two of them - both members of the Yellow Jackets football team - were accused of entering an occupied dorm room at Bowling Green State University and stealing a laptop computer, authorities said.

Investigators are looking at whether the trio may be responsible for a number of laptop thefts reported since classes began last month.

"Those are still under investigation, and we will be looking at these individuals with regard to those other thefts," BGSU police Chief Jim Wiegand said.

Arrested were Defiance football players Emanuel Onwuemene, 18, of Livonia, Mich., and Aaron Whaley, 18, of Oak Park, Mich., who each were charged with burglary. Benjamin Sayalith, 18, of Carey, Ohio, who a college spokesman said quit the football team early in the season, was charged with receiving stolen property.

Kathy Punches, spokesman for Defiance College, said both Mr. Onwuemene and Mr. Whaley were suspended indefinitely from the football team "pending the outcome of the legal process."

According to BGSU police, a resident of the McDonald East residence hall, Jessica Lapierre, reported that two men walked into her room about 3:30 a.m. yesterday and stole her laptop. She was lying on her bed, sending a text message to someone when the men entered, Chief Wiegand said.

"It certainly was [bold] to walk into a room where an individual is awake and doing something and steal something from her," he said.

Ms. Lapierre told police she followed the intruders, who were stopped by campus police in the parking lot near McDonald a short time later.

Police said they found her laptop in the backseat of a car driven by Mr. Sayalith. Several other laptops were found in the trunk of the car, and police are looking at whether those were stolen.

Chief Wiegand said five laptops have been reported stolen from residence halls since school began. "It's frustrating because at least four out of the five were taken from unlocked or open rooms," he said. "Even though we harp and preach to lock their doors, students continue to choose not to do so."

The three men appeared yesterday in Bowling Green Municipal Court, where they were released on their own recognizance and ordered not to return to BGSU. Preliminary hearings in their cases were scheduled for Oct. 15.

Mr. Onwuemene has other charges to which he must answer. According to Bowling Green police reports, he and an 18-year-old woman were cited just before 2 a.m. yesterday for obstructing official business, disorderly conduct, and underage under the influence after officers allegedly saw the two having sex in the parking lot of Howard's bar on North Main Street.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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