In an extremely puzzling case that took place last week, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) starting shooting guard Sheldon Cooley went from being a purported crime victim on Tuesday to an alleged crook by Thursday.
It all began, according to TriCities.com, when two of Cooley’s teammates in Adam Sollazzo and J.C. Ward called the police and claimed that three men broke into Cooley and Ward’s Buccaneer Ridge apartment. Per the victims' statement to police, the alleged perpetrators bound and gag Sollazzo and Ward, and then went on to steal some debit cards, credit cards, a laptop and $1,300 in cash.
At this point, it’s important to note who said what to the police. Sollazzo and Ward specifically told the cops that debit cards, credit cards and a laptop had been stolen. Cooley, for his part, was the one that claimed $1,300 had been taken.
After a brief investigation, the authorities concluded that Cooley made his claim regarding the missing phantom $1,300 up. ETSU campus police proceeded to file a criminal charge against him shortly thereafter, and his basketball team put him on indefinite suspension.
Sollazzo and Ward both apparently told the truth about their stolen items and neither player wound up getting punished.
The question on everyone’s mind now is: did Cooley really file a false report or is he just the unluckiest guy ever? It’s worth pointing out that Ward (not Cooley) reported a robbery at his same residence just a few months earlier when he told campus police that someone had stolen his rings. That case never got solved. However, if you accept the notion that the apartment in question is some sort of burglary magnet, then suddenly the prospect of someone actually stealing $1,300 that only Cooley knew about becomes very viable. Why else would Cooley claim to have had the money stolen from him? It’s not as if the police could reimburse him for the loss.
Then again, actually getting brought up on false report charges theoretically requires being found to -- or admitting to -- have lied to police. So maybe Cooley got trapped in a lie at some point during the investigation and was forced to confess. Which, of course, would still leave the issue of why claim to have had $1,300 stolen in the first place out there.
Details of what exactly transpired will probably trickle in over the next few days but, at this point, it looks like no matter what happens, there is no way this ends well for Cooley.
Photo Credit: Johnson City Press
(Kudos to Deadspin for the find)