A Michigan State University football player has pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property in the theft of laptop computers from several Detroit Public Schools. Dion Sims entered his plea Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court and will be sentenced Dec. 6, the county prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The 19-year-old sophomore from Detroit was one of 10 men charged following an investigation into the theft of 104 laptops valued at $158,000 from several Detroit schools. Sims was charged with handling between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of stolen goods.
Michigan State has suspended Sims indefinitely from team-related activities. He has not played in the first four games this season.
Last December, 30 Apple MacBook laptops were taken during a break-in at a Detroit elementary school. Over the next month, 74 more laptops – Dells and MacBooks – were taken from three other schools.
They eventually were sold to friends and acquaintances of the suspects, and on eBay and Craigslist.
Tracking mechanisms installed in the computers allowed authorities to track them to Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee Florida, Arizona, California, Canada and even to the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East.
As part of the plea deal with prosecutors, Sims has to cooperate during the investigation into the stolen laptops and testify against co-defendants to get the conviction wiped from his record.
“If he completes the terms the judge sets for him, he has no record and there is no conviction,” said his attorney, Steve Fishman. “Anybody in his situation, with his age, his clean record and the cooperation he has already given the prosecution is entitled to get this break.”
If there is no conviction, it’s hoped that Sims will be allowed to return to the team next season, Fishman added.
At the time Sims was charged, the school’s athletic director said the team had been aware since February of Sims’ legal issues. Three other defendants, Danny Tiwaini, Nicholas Tisdale and Christopher Schambre, are scheduled for Oct. 1 preliminary examinations.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)