The stolen laptop Cameron Clear used to surf the Internet when campus police arrested him didn’t travel far, court records show.
The laptop came from a weekend burglary of five fellow University of Tennessee athletes’ dorm room at Gibbs Hall just down the street, according to police records released Wednesday.
The 19-year-old sophomore tight end faces a felony charge of theft up to $10,000. Clear remained free Wednesday with bond set at $2,500.
He was sitting at the entrance to Neyland Stadium on Tuesday when UT police caught him online on a MacBook Pro that belonged to freshman baseball pitcher Brandon Zajac, according to an arrest warrant.
Four other freshman baseball players — all neighbors of Clear in Gibbs Hall — reported they’d been burglarized at the same time as Zajac.
Clear might be out of jail, but he’s off the football field — at least for now. Football coach Derek Dooley suspended Clear “indefinitely” on Wednesday, said Jimmy Stanton, UT associate athletic director for communications.
He gave no other details, wouldn’t discuss the other thefts and wouldn’t say whether other athletes have reported similar thefts.
“All I know is he’s been suspended indefinitely,” Stanton said. “At this point, that’s all.”
Clear logged into a jail cell Tuesday after police traced the laptop’s Wi-Fi signal to Gate 2 at the stadium around 1:30 p.m., UT police Cpl. Ben Doty wrote in the arrest warrant. Clear was still at the keyboard when officers walked up, according to the warrant.
“Upon my arrival, I saw Mr. Clear sitting with a silver MacBook in his lap,” Doty wrote. “Once he saw the officers, he closed the laptop.”
The laptop’s serial number matched the MacBook stolen from Zajac, Doty wrote.
Zajac and the other four baseball players — first-baseman/outfielder Richard Carter of Brentwood, Tenn., who’s no longer on the team; pitcher Robbie Kidd of Fairfax Station, Va.; infielder Will Maddox of Gainesville, Ga.; and pitcher Connor Mahan Stevens of Raleigh, N.C. — reported a burglar had hit their dorm rooms Saturday.
UT officials released a copy of the initial burglary report to campus police after a series of public records requests by the News Sentinel. The report lists all five victims and lists Clear as a suspect but doesn’t list what was stolen.
UT officials refused to give that list, even though other police agencies routinely include such details in incident reports, which are public records under state law.
The players couldn’t be reached Wednesday.
Kidd’s father, Scott Kidd, said his son’s Sony VAIO laptop and a small flat-screen television were stolen.
“Luckily, he had an iPod in the room, too, but it was covered up by dirty clothes,” the father said. “I guess it was a good strategy.”
Other players’ families couldn’t be reached Wednesday night.
Zajac’s laptop set off an electronic alert when Clear used it to log into the university’s wireless network Tuesday, according to court records. He logged into a jail cell hours later.
Clear, who’s 6-foot-6, 283 pounds, ended spring practice as the backup to starting tight end Mychal Rivera. He caught only one pass last year as a freshman but was expected to play a more prominent role in the offense this season.
Clear was one of the most heralded signees in UT’s 2011 recruiting class. In his senior season at Memphis Central, he caught 18 passes for 250 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 60 tackles and eight sacks on defense.
Staff writers Hayes Hickman and Lance Coleman contributed to this report.