SCOREBOARD Former Reporter Athlete of Year Brown arrested Former Prep standout charged with grand larceny and drug possession

St. Peter’s Prep head football coach and athletic director Rich Hansen didn’t want to believe the news Tuesday morning when he was informed about former Marauder standout Mike Brown’s arrest in Virginia last week.

“I don’t want to read the papers about it,” Hansen said. “I have to make a few calls and find out for myself.”

After getting the details of the arrest, Hansen then addressed the issue.

“I’m naturally shocked and disappointed,” Hansen said. “Of course, he’s innocent until he’s proven guilty. But if he is guilty of these serious charges, then I’m confident Mike will do the right thing and handle them when that time comes.”

Brown, the 2004-05 Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year, was arrested last week by police on the campus of the University of Virginia, where Brown is a junior defensive back. He was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property with the intent to sell, altering serial numbers and possession of marijuana.

After the 21-year-old Brown was released from jail by posting a $50,000 bond, he was informed by University of Virginia football coach Al Groh that he was no longer a member of the school’s football program.

“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” Groh said in a statement released by the school’s athletic program. “At this time we are currently gathering the facts. In view of the nature of the allegation, Mike Brown is not participating with the program at this time.”

According to the police report, the felony charges against Brown began with an incident on Feb. 6, when a music mixer, mixer box, camcorder, and microphone were stolen from a vehicle owned by a fellow Virginia student from a school parking garage.

The stolen items had a value of almost $4,000.

Three days later, the owner of the electronic equipment taken from the car saw the items listed on the Internet selling and trading Web site, eBay.

The seller on eBay allegedly was Brown’s roommate, a former member of the Virginia football team.

The owner of the equipment then notified police about the eBay listing and arranged to purchase the music mixer in an attempt to identify the thief.

However, after paying for the mixer through PayPal, the mixer was not delivered.

With the assistance of the victim, Charlottesville police then received a search warrant for Brown’s apartment, and while there, the police say they allegedly found a camcorder, a laptop, a Yamaha sound mixer and the mixer box, three pieces of drug paraphernalia, and a plastic bag containing marijuana.

There were also 13 different receipts for eBay transactions.

Brown was then arrested and hit with the felony theft charges. Brown’s roommate was not charged with any crime. Charlottesville police released a statement saying that there wasn’t any evidence that pointed toward Brown’s roommate being involved in the crime, charging that Brown allegedly acted alone.

Scott Goodman, listed as Brown’s attorney in Virginia according to court documents, refused to comment about the charges against Brown.

Unfortunately, Brown has one other prior run-in with the law. In March 2006, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor trespassing in his connection in a fight at a University of Virginia fraternity house. Brown was sentenced to 50 hours of community service for that incident.

But these latest charges are extremely serious, and if Brown is found guilty, he could serve as many as five years in prison with substantial fines, especially since he allegedly attempted to sell the stolen goods on the Internet.

Brown, the first player to ever receive Hudson Reporter All-Area honors in football for four straight years and was also an All-Area baseball player for the Marauders his senior year, played in every game as a freshman and sophomore at Virginia.

Last summer, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, forcing him to miss the entire season, receiving a medical red-shirt for the season. He had two years of college eligibility remaining. He was a key member of the Cavaliers’ special teams, especially as a punt return specialist, leading Virginia in punt returns as a sophomore.

Brown was expected to challenge for a starting position at cornerback. His high school teammate at Prep, Rashawn Jackson, is the Cavaliers’ starting fullback.

Hansen said that he spoke with Brown a few weeks ago.

“I never had any indication that he was in any trouble,” Hansen said. “He said he was doing well with the rehab with the knee and was making plans for the future. He was gregarious and upbeat. You never could imagine something like this could happen. You just don’t think it could happen to someone like Mike. We have to see what happens, but it’s definitely a shame. I really don’t even know what to say. He’s just a good kid. It’s just not believable.”

Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but if these charges are true, then Brown will have to pay a severe penalty. He’s already been dismissed from the football team, and more than likely, the school may follow suit.

You can’t rush to judgment in a case like this. It might be one huge mistake. After all, people were ready to hang Rashard Casey of Hoboken for his involvement in an altercation outside a bar in the Mile Square City several years ago. Casey, the former Penn State quarterback, was pretty much tried and convicted in the court of public opinion and by the Hoboken Police Department before he got his day in court.

As it turned out, the charges against Casey were dropped for insufficient evidence.

Maybe the same will happen for Brown, although things certainly don’t look too good right now. He’s in a massive heap of trouble, potentially staring at a lengthy prison sentence.

What makes the news of Brown’s arrest even more startling is that it’s so uncharacteristic. Mike Brown was always one of the nicest and most respectful kids that I had the privilege to cover and write about. He was the product of a good, close-knit family. He wasn’t boastful and wasn’t full of himself. He was what you hoped every high school athlete would be like, a great student and a great talent with the world as his personal oyster. Mike Brown had it all going for him.

Now, he may have flushed it all away for a couple of thousand bucks. If it was another kid who got arrested, maybe the news wouldn’t be so shocking. But Mike Brown? The whole thing really doesn’t make sense. But then again, it never does.


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