CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – A bizarre story unraveling at the University of Miami involves a former football player working undercover with police and a stolen laptop.
It all began Tuesday at the Pearson Dorm on UM’s campus when someone stole a laptop belonging to former redshirt defensive back Robert Wright.
“He had placed an electronic message on the laptop screen that read, ‘if you return my laptop, I’ll give you a thousand dollars.’ So yesterday he received a call from a blocked number. The caller advised ‘I have your laptop. I want the thousand dollars.'” Coral Gables police officer Dean Wellinghoff said.
With the help of University Police, Wright was involved in a sting at the campus arena, the Bank United Center.
Del’Neco Streeter appeared with another person. Police said Streeter handed over the laptop to Wright and asked for the cash. When officers suddenly appeared Streeter took off.
“He fled into one of the parking garages and he was subsequently tracked by one of our K-9’s,” Wellinghoff said.
While the pursuit and search took place; the University was sending out alerts via text, Twitter and email through an emergency notification system.
Demi Halmoukos, a UM Student read it to CBS4.
“UMIAMI alert black male on campus wearing black and white tennis shoes with black writing and black shorts,” she read.
What did that tell her?
“That there’s a black man on campus,” Halmoukos responded.
The next message that came out said the suspect was armed.
“They all told us to barricade our doors and stay inside so we were all kind of scared,” one student told CBS4.
In the end, the alerts had much of it wrong.
“No gun was ever seen. Where that information came from we have no idea,” Wellinghoff confirmed.
The University apologized Thursday saying they were in rush to notify campus. They later issued a statement calling the alerts “both incomplete and insensitive and the University of Miami offers its sincere apologies.”
It was a bit late though. Many students have taken to the internet posting a petition for better notifications.
Del’Neco Streeter works in the public works department on Miami Beach. He was charged with dealing in stolen property, which means he was not the one who stole the laptop initially from Wright.
Streeter’s parents were in bond court late Thursday afternoon. The judge released him and told him to try to stay out of trouble and he should be glad he has a good job. He should try to keep it. The judge also ordered Streeter to keep out from the University of Miami.
Police told CBS4 they are looking for a second suspect. It’s unclear what his involvement is or if he goes to the University of Miami.