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Video shows Dezmon Epps, teammate stealing from UI campus store

Security footage from the VandalStore on the University of Idaho campus shows star Vandals receiver Dezmon Epps and several teammates stealing merchandise from the store, according to a university statement.

Epps is considered to be the best talent on the team. He was dismissed from the team prior to the 2014 season for what was termed a "violation of team rules," but reinstated during practices the following spring. The dismissal occurred shortly after he was charged with theft.

The video allegedly clarifies an Aug. 16 incident in which $285 worth of merchandise was stolen from the campus store during a time when the store was open only to members of the football team.

Also visible in the video is cornerback Isaiah Taylor, who is no longer with the team. The statement identifies the players as Epps and Taylor and says that the university held off on releasing video and player identities until the Office of General Counsel signaled that there were no potential violations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The Spokesman-Review contacted UI athletic director Rob Spear and school president Chuck Staben, neither of whom immediately returned comment.

VandalStore director John Bales declined to press charges after the incident. Store manager Scott McDonald told police he could not recall the identities of the players involved. Idaho head coach Paul Petrino returned the stolen merchandise later that day after he was made aware of the thefts and said that the team would handle discipline internally. 

Epps was dismissed from the team in late July of 2014, shortly after he was charged with stealing $37.72 worth of groceries from WinCo Foods. In April of that year Epps was also arrested for misdemeanor DUI. 

After the second incident, Vandals coach Paul Petrino issued a statement saying that the matter would "be handled switftly and decisively," adding, "Our student-athletes will understand that there will be discipline in our program. They will learn the responsibility they have in representing themselves, the football program, and the University of Idaho in the right manner. We will hold our student-athlete’s accountable for their actions at all times as character and integrity will always be a priority in our program."

Epps was sentenced to two days incarceration earlier this year for driving without an interlock device that was required by the court following his DUI arrest.

Epps led the Vandals with 79 receptions for 980 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. No other Vandals receiver had more than 36 catches or 429 yards.

Epps played in Idaho's first game of the season, 45-28 loss to Ohio on Sept. 3, even though the thefts occurred weeks prior to kickoff. Epps caught 15 passes for 160 yards in the loss, accounting for more than half of UI's total receiving yards. He also returned Ohio's only punt.



Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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