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Provo • Brigham Young University Police have brought criminal charges against Sione Takitaki, a sophomore linebacker on the school's football team.
Campus police allege that Takitaki stole apparel from the school's soccer and track teams last month while he worked on the custodial staff at Smith Fieldhouse.
Takitaki, from Fontana, Calif., is charged with two counts of misdemeanor theft for incidents that occurred on July 10 and July 21, BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon said.
Takitaki, a candidate for one of the two starting outside linebacker positions, has practiced with the Cougars since preseason camp began Saturday.
BYU football spokesman Brett Pyne said coach Bronco Mendenhall has reviewed the situation and has suspended Takitaki for the season opener against Nebraska on Sept. 5.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mendenhall called Takitaki one of the two best pass rushers on the team.
Lemmon said the Provo City Attorney's Office screened and approved the charges on Monday and submitted them to the Provo City Justice Court for prosecution. Court documents show Takitaki is scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 27 to answer the charges.
Police reports obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune show that on July 10, Takitaki allegedly took a BYU track jacket valued at $200 from an office in the field house. On July 21, Takitaki stole $280 worth of soccer apparel, a second report alleges.
Lemmon said video surveillance aided in the investigation of the crimes. That evidence has been turned over to the city attorney. He said Takitaki was "very cooperative" during the investigation and that police have recovered all the stolen property.
A "supplemental narrative" to the July 21 police report states that "the total value of the items Sione admitted to taking from the soccer office without their permission is $280."
The thefts are considered Class B misdemeanors because of the value of the items.
Takitaki's year in Provo has been a troubled one.
He was involved in a fight in the campus dorms last summer, just days after moving to Provo, and was kicked off the football team by Mendenhall before he was issued a jersey. He was not dismissed from school.
A day or two later, family members persuaded Mendenhall to give Takitaki a second chance if the team voted to allow him back, which it did.
In his biggest chunk of playing time last season, Takitaki recorded a sack and two quarterback hurries against Central Florida. However, he failed to attend a practice the following week and was suspended for the Nevada game.
BYU officials reported Wednesday that sophomore linebacker Colby Jorgensen had five hours of surgery late Tuesday night and has been diagnosed with a neck fracture and other injuries that will prevent him from playing football this season.
Some of Jorgensen's teammates planned to visit him in the hospital on Wednesday night. Mendenhall said that when it occurred during Tuesday morning's practice that nobody realized how serious it was.
"It is really hard on me, and hard on the staff and hard on the team," he said.
West could join Cougars in January
Mendenhall said Wednesday that BYU has not cut ties with Charles West, the running back from Coppell, Texas, who signed with BYU last February in the midst of some legal troubles. He said the door is still open for West to enter school and join the program in January.
"We are hopeful Charles could join us, pending everything getting cleared up, which it looks like that has happened," Mendenhall said.
Mendenhall reiterated that he won't say publicly how many or which BYU players will be suspended for their roles in the brawl that erupted after the Miami Beach Bowl until at least the week of the opener against Nebraska on Sept. 5.
"Those decisions were made a long time ago, and I don't intend to address it publicly, at least until game week," Mendenhall said.