Three Southeast Missouri State University football players recently arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor shoplifting have been indefinitely suspended from the program under university policy.
Miles Stroter, Errick Aliifua and Jerald Williams, all freshman reserves on last season's football team, were issued citations Sunday afternoon. They are scheduled to appear in court May 27.
According to a Cape Girardeau Police Department spokesman, Stroter, Aliifua and Williams were caught with stolen items from Macy's by a Macy's loss prevention officer, who summoned police.
During an ensuing investigation, more stolen items from businesses at West Park Mall were found in the vehicle of the three men.
The police spokesman said the three are charged with stealing about 21 items from Macy's, Steve & Barry's and J.C. Penney Co.
The stolen items are valued at less than $500. An amount greater than $500 would be considered a felony.
Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said the university's student-athlete code of conduct calls for an immediate administrative suspension from involvement in team activity pending further investigation whenever an athlete is accused of a violation of criminal law.
"The reason we suspend them is so we have an opportunity to gather the facts," Kaverman said. "We let the authorities do their thing, and we do our own inquiry to try and determine what happened.
"We let things run their course and then determine their status later."
Kaverman said that according to Southeast's student-athlete code of conduct, a suspension can be lifted by the athletic director if the charge does not involve a felony.
Kaverman said the university and the football program can still dole out discipline above and beyond what the legal system decides.
Southeast football coach Tony Samuel said that will be the case from his end.
"They will be disciplined by us above what their punishment is," said Samuel, whose squad concluded spring practice Saturday. "That was not a real smart decision by those kids. These are good kids who just made a bad decision."
Aliifua, a defensive tackle from Hayward, Calif., saw the most action of the three last season. Aliifua played in all 11 games, compiling 16 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback sack.
Stroter, an offensive lineman from Chicago, played in eight games on special teams and at guard.
Williams, a safety from Houston, played in one game.
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