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Ex-BYU quarterback Max Hall arrested in shoplifting, drug case

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 2 2014 3:20 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 11:38 a.m. MDT

GILBERT, Arizona — After making his name as BYU's winningest quarterback in 2009, Max Hall was caught in a wave of media coverage and online debate Tuesday following his weekend arrest for investigation of shoplifting and drug possession.

Hall, 28, was arrested Saturday at a Gilbert Best Buy store, 2288 E. Williams Field Road, according to Gilbert Police Sgt. Jesse Sanger.

Hall's backpack contained "several stolen items from Best Buy and a nearby Wal-Mart store. Also located inside the backpack was a personal use quantity of cocaine," Sanger said.

The arrest

Hall was stopped by security personnel at the Best Buy and was cooperative as he waited for police to arrive. As officers approached Hall, he immediately apologized, according to a police report.

"I'm really sorry, I'll pay for the stuff. If I get arrested, I'll get fired. I've never done this before," Hall is quoted in the report.

Officers found $286 worth of electronics inside the backpack after employees saw Hall taking items out of their packaging, putting them in his bag and hiding the empty boxes, the report states.

"Most of the items were cellphone cases, cellphone chargers, smaller items like that, electronics, like that," Sanger said. "I think everything looks like it was $30 to $40 for each item."

Investigators also located hypodermic needles, a metal spoon, a lighter and what field tests confirmed was cocaine, stored in a pill bottle. Hall told police he had used the cocaine that morning, injecting himself near the elbow, the report states.

Hall then told police "I don't want to answer any more questions."

Hall was arrested at the Gilbert police station, where he was fingerprinted, photographed and released according to the department's policy.

No criminal charges have yet been filed against Hall, but police have forwarded recommendations to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Shoplifting charges are generally misdemeanors while drug possession can be charged as a felony.

"It's up to the court and the judge to decide that," Sanger said.

Online reaction

News of Hall's arrest — and his mugshot in a BYU football T-shirt — quickly caught fire online. Amid criticism, gloating and armchair quarterbacking, Hall's fans and rivals alike used social media to share concern for Hall's well-being and kind thoughts for his family.

Among them was Derik Stevenson, a former BYU linebacker and graduate from the school's business program now working as an insurance broker. Stevenson said on Twitter he doesn't know Hall or what led him to allegedly be found with the drugs, but said the story sounds all too familiar.

For Stevenson, what started as a doctor's orders to regulate the pain that inevitably comes with playing college ball turned into a way to dull stress and anxiety, and later developed into an addiction to prescription drugs.

"The pain pills that you're given for your shoulder injury or your knee injury, those drugs help you cope with or deal with the other stressors," he said.

Stevenson said he hid his addiction, paralyzed by the bravado that comes with being an athlete and expectations within the LDS Church and BYU regulations that he be drug and alcohol free. When he left BYU and the coaches, trainers and team members who had supported him, Stevenson said he felt he had no one to turn to.

It's a problem Stevenson believes is widespread, not confined to any one school or team.

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