MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WIVB) - Members of the Newfane High School varsity baseball team were sentenced to do community service by a judge in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after shoplifting items from a store.
Newfane Central School Superintendent Christine Tibbits says seven members of the team were arrested Tuesday night for shoplifting sunglasses ranging in value from $130 to $300 from the Sunglass Hut on the Broadway at the Beach strip in Myrtle Beach.
The Newfane Panthers were in South Carolina to participate in the Mingo Bay baseball tournament and were traveling with their parents. Superintendent Tibbits says parents were not with their children at the time the shoplifting took place. Apparently, the parents of one player had given their son the keys to their car Tuesday night.
"It's a serious thing for the families [and] for the kids involved, said," Myrtle Beach Police Captain David Knipes.
The police report states that at least three of the players stole sunglasses while the other players in the store distracted the clerk by asking questions about other items. Police say they also recovered other stolen items from the suspects.
Police in Myrtle Beach will only identify suspects who are 18-years-old or older. Seven players were involved, but only three were 18-years-old: Brian Ratajczak, Mitchell Valery and Reid Weber.
Superintendent Tibbits said, "As a school and community we're incredibly disappointed that our boys made such a poor choice while representing our school and our team in South Carolina."
In all, 13 players made the trip with coach Jeff Kneeland. Their families paid for all of the expenses. During the course of the week, the seven players involved in the incident took turns being suspended from the field, allowing those who had nothing to do with the shoplifting incident to play without being penalized.
The teens sentenced in Myrtle Beach will serve their community service in Western New York. The seven involved in the incident will appear before the school's Athletic Disciplinary Council and have a hearing with the superintendent.
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