You can always juke an incoming defensive player on the field, but you can never juke the law. Thomas Rawls, 21, has been indefinitely suspended from all football activities effective immediately by Central Michigan University after authorities claim that Rawls, along with an accomplice, stole a purse and two credit cards at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in the spring of 2014.
Head coach Dan Enos announced during the weekly MAC teleconference on Monday, Sep. 15, 2014, that Rawls has been suspended from the team indefinitely.
We've requested further comment from the athletic department, but Rob Wyman, director of communications for Central Michigan Athletics, stated in a media advisory:
"Central Michigan running back Thomas Rawls has been suspended for a violation of team rules. Central Michigan will not have any further comment at this time."
Here's what we do know:
The complaint, titled People of Michigan v. Thomas Tyrell Rawls, officially lists the charges as "larceny in a building," and two counts of "possession of a financial transaction device" and one count of "stealing/retaining a financial transaction device." Each carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine per charge. (We've embedded the criminal complaint at the bottom of this article.)
Filed and signed on May 21 of this year, the police report from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police states that on April 8, 2014 Rawls and an unidentified man coordinated the theft of a woman's purse at a sub shop inside the Soaring Eagle Casino. According to the report Rawls and his accomplice, referred to as "KG", saw the unaccompanied purse, Rawls sat on the purse, and according to surveillance video, KG was seen carrying the purse—which therein contained her license, credit cards, and her social security card—out of the casino and to the vehicle they were driving. (For the record, the report states that Rawls claims to have not went through the contents of the purse.)
Rawls' identity was made aware to police by the shop workers after Rawls left a receipt for a payment of subs on his own debit card just minutes prior to the incident. After the incident in question, Rawls and "KG" stopped at a gas station to fill up. Police allege that "KG" paid for $33.77 of gas with the stolen debit card to fill the vehicle which Rawls identified as his college roommates' vehicle. Alcohol was not a factor in the incident, and Rawls has no prior convictions.
According to the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun, Rawls is expected to be arraigned in Isabella County Trial Court at 11 a.m. on Tues., Sep. 16.
Though unrelated, Rawls is the third Chippewa football player to face criminal charges in the past several months. Over the summer CMU players Andrew Flory, 21, and Ryan Oruche, 21, were arrested on charges of retail fraud. Flory was also charged with one count of possession of marijuana and Oruche with one count of unarmed robbery.
Oruche is no longer involved with the football program, while Flory is currently suspended from the team indefinitely.