Crime stoppers: University of Utah men's basketball team apprehends another thief
“Everyone was walking around on pins and needles,” said Krystkowiak. “It’s hard to have your stuff stolen once, but then to know that somebody’s got that kind of access where they’re coming back (day after day). You have to think about the timing. Saturday night he gets caught at the swim coach’s door, gets his keys taken way, and yet he’s back here Monday afternoon. It takes a lot of gumption to pull that off. Who knows what would have happened if he’d kept going.”
Thanks to Steinbrenner and DeSilva, he didn’t.
One of the U.’s track coaches was looking at the picture on his phone when he thought he spotted the man. He told Steinbrenner, who tried to follow him, but lost him near the LDS Institute buildings across the street from the Huntsman Center.
When the team met for dinner at the football complex, Steinbrenner took a little heat.
“Everyone was giving Hans a bad time for not getting the criminal,” Krystkowiak said with a smile. So when a coach showed up and said he saw someone running near the arena with two backpacks, Steinbrenner and DeSilva took off.
“We decided to go on a little chase before my class,” Steinbrenner said. “We saw him ... walking toward the TRAX.”
They followed him, with DeSilva trailing by 10 feet and Steinbrenner following 10 feet behind him on his cellphone with university police.
Both young men said they weren’t scared, but they were careful and focused. The man noticed he was being followed and walked quickly into the HPER Building, adjacent to the Huntsman Center, and made his way into an auxiliary locker room in the corner of the building.
They texted Krystkowiak and told him they had him cornered.
“(The suspect) was talking to Austin asking him why we were holding him there,” said Steinbrenner. “We were bigger than him, and we still feel we’re kind of athletic.”
DeSilva said his adrenaline was pumping, but he wasn’t really scared. The man told him former Jazz forward Paul Millsap had given him the new shoes he was wearing and that he’d just been to a store where he picked up the two jackets with the tags still on them.
“We told him, ‘That’s U. of U. athletic gear,'” DeSilva said. “I know it when I see it. He tried to exit the room, and we both were blocking the door.”
DeSilva said he’d never done anything like he did Tuesday night, but it felt good to help apprehend someone causing so much trouble for coaches and staff.
“I didn’t even know about the reward,” he said smiling. “I was just trying to help.”
University of Utah police are still investigating the case and said the suspect had set up a hotel room in Salt Lake City where he was selling the merchandise he was taking from the coaches’ offices.
“We’re going to be pretty vigilant in trying to protects what’s ours,” said Krystkowiak.
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