(Updated 5 p.m.)
One day before what was to have been his college-football debut, Georgia freshman safety Alec Ogletree was arrested on a misdemeanor theft-by-taking charge and suspended from at least the Bulldogs’ opening game.
Ogletree, a highly touted recruit from Newnan, was charged by UGA Police in connection with the mid-June theft of a motor-scooter helmet, valued at $35, outside a campus building.
Coach Mark Richt, who earlier this week said Ogletree would be one of the few freshmen to play in Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, announced the suspension Friday afternoon. About an hour earlier, Ogletree turned himself in to the Clarke County Jail on an arrest warrant issued the day before.
“Certainly it’s an unfortunate sequence of events,” Richt said in a statement. “I’m disappointed in the situation and will continue to gather information as the case is processed through the proper legal channels.
“In the meantime, Alec is still responsible for a poor decision and will serve a minimum one-game suspension as a result.”
Ogletree was booked into the jail at 2:07 p.m. Friday and released on $1,500 bond at 4:51 p.m.
UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the warrant issued for Ogletree on Thursday stemmed from a June 15 incident outside the Rankin Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center. A helmet was taken from a parked scooter, where it had been left “unsecured,” between 4 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., according to the police incident report.
The helmet belonged to Petr Novotny, a member of UGA’s track and field team, according to the report.
Williamson said police received information this week that Ogletree had the distinctive helmet, which the incident report describes as “red in color with gray skulls on each side linked by a chain around the back.” The helmet was in Ogletree’s possession when he was interviewed by an investigator Thursday morning, Williamson said. The warrant was issued later in the day.
Ogletree is the ninth Georgia football player to be arrested this year.
Three were dismissed from the team; one decided to transfer; and three –- tailback Washaun Ealey, wide receiver Tavarres King and Ogletree –- are suspended from at least Saturday’s game.
Ealey was charged with hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving with a suspended license, while King was charged with underage possession of alcohol.
Ogletree, 18, was Georgia’s highest-rated signee this year. He was ranked the nation’s No. 3 safety prospect by Rivals.com and No. 4 by ESPN.com.