"Certainly we were shocked and saddened when we found out this morning. It was very surprising to all of us," said Jeff Weld, the director of Castleton State College relations.
Weld says he couldn't believe the news of two star athletes being caught in a retail theft scheme.
"All very new, all very surprising," Weld said. "A tough situation, certainly for us, as we are a smaller community and we know the student athletes and we know them well. Very surprised."
On Tuesday evening, Vermont State Police stopped Castleton sophomore George Busharis outside of the Dick's Sporting Goods store in Rutland. The 19-year-old had a receipt for an item costing $3.20, but police say merchandise in his bag totaled more than $300. Police say Busharis admitted he stole the items with help from 21-year-old Brandon Boyle, an employee at Dick's.
"Two individuals were working together and it appeared that they bought some merchandise, whereas they had other merchandise that they did not pay. And they left the store with it without paying for it," Vt. State Police Lt. Charles Cacciatore said.
Busharis is the starting quarterback at Castleton and Boyle is an All-American wide receiver, who has been featured in WCAX Sports coverage of the Spartans over the last three years. Both players have been indefinitely suspended from the team, but are not on school suspension. Campus officials are still investigating. Weld says Boyle and Busharis are looked up to within the community, but will not be treated differently.
"We don't take into account their status-- whether they are in the band, the theater arts program, the football team-- all these allegations are taken very seriously regardless of the students' extra-curricular standing," Weld said.
Wednesday night the college announced the number of students who may have been involved in the alleged thefts is growing. The college confirmed that 4 more student athletes are being investigated as well -- they have also been suspended.
According to Dick's loss prevention personnel, more than $3,000 in merchandise is missing from the store, and Boyle and his friends are the center of their investigation.
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