ST. GEORGE - A St. George man is in custody facing multiple burglary charges after being arrested for a string of thefts from the Dixie State University football team’s locker room.
Police got him after the coaching staff caught him red-handed.
Shortly after the fall semester began, players on the football team noticed money missing from their lockers. More than $1,000 went missing from the Red Storm’s locker room over a span of about a month, but it was a $9 webcam that caught the suspect.
“We decided we needed to do something,” head coach Scott Brumfield said. “I’m not very computer savvy, so one of my coaches suggested we put a webcam up.”
The team turned on the camera when they were out on the field and monitored the feed for a few days. On the fourth day, they caught someone rummaging through the players' things.
“It was shocking to see someone that we didn’t know come in the locker room and rummage through lockers,” Brumfield said. “We try to keep it locked up as much as possible.”
A player confronted 29-year-old Richard Fitzgerald. He cooperated, and police said when they questioned him about that he was doing in the locker room, Fitzgerald confessed.
“[The team] saw an individual who is older than most of our students,” said DSU campus police chief Don Reid. ”[They] called our officer that was on duty, who read him his rights, and he confessed.”
According to police, Fitzgerald told officers he’d been stealing money to support a drug habit.
“We feel compassion for him,” Brumfield said. “You know, hopefully he can use this as a learning experience and better his life, and you know we wish him the best too.”
Coach Brumfield said they’ve taken steps to make sure things stay locked up as best they can. Players are glad the burglar was caught, so they can turn their focus back to the field.
“It was really good for the whole team, it was kind of a boost,” said junior offensive lineman Remick Rappleye. “Kind of a little bit of excitement, like, 'hey we got him, we’re safe.' Whatever little focus that was strayed away is right back where it should be.
Fitzgerald was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility. He potentially faces four separate counts of felony burglary.