By Dalton Karwacki
Wednesday’s scheduled court date for four Rider students charged with burglary and theft has been moved to March 2, according to Lawrence Twp. Police Department (LTPD).
The suspects, including a standout member of the university’s wrestling team, are being charged after allegedly breaking into a car and stealing several items during the winter break.
They were identified as junior Tyler Smith, a member of Rider’s wrestling team, freshman Shreyas Patel and sophomores Peter Coia and Ori Haviv. Several items were found in their vehicle and were identified as the ones reported stolen, according to Lt. Charles Edgar, a police spokesman. These included a knife, a pair of moccasins, a notebook and a magazine, altogether valued at around $120.
Smith, who, according to head wrestling coach Gary Taylor, is “no longer a part of the team,” entered this season nationally ranked in the top 20 of his weight class. The Philipsburg, N.J., native finished last season with a career-high 24 victories and at one point, was ranked 16th in the country at his weight. This year, Smith posted a 2-1 mark and in his time at Rider, he has compiled an overall record of 36-25.
Executive director of University Communications Dan Higgins said that the students were “no longer enrolled at Rider University.”
At 3:54 a.m. on Dec. 18, police responded to a call that four males were holding flashlights and standing around a car in a driveway on Charles Way, located about a mile from Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. According to Edgar, the caller had not seen anybody in the car, but reported that several items were missing from the vehicle.
“Officers responded and spotted a black four-door vehicle leaving the area,” Edgar said. “The car was stopped and backup arrived.”
Edgar said that all four students were arrested for allegedly burglarizing a vehicle. He added that Smith, who was driving the vehicle, also was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The four are due in Mercer County Superior Court to answer charges of burglary and theft.
Administration officials said they were unable to comment on whether or not the students faced disciplinary action from the university.
“I can’t talk about a student’s record, or say what the outcome of their judicial stuff would be,” said Keith Kemo, director of the Office of Community Standards. “It would be a violation of their rights. The university is obligated to not talk about a student’s record.”
Kemo did note, however, that the university does reserve the right to “adjudicate things that happen off campus.”
This is confirmed in the “Jurisdiction of the Student Code of Social Conduct” section of The Source.
“The Student Code of Conduct may apply to any student conduct that occurs on University premises… and also off-campus conduct that adversely affects the University Community or the pursuit of its objectives, including, but not limited to, any off-campus conduct that constitutes a violation of any law or municipal ordinance or any off-campus conduct that poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare of any members of the University Community or any residents of the neighboring communities,” the section reads.
Director of Public Safety Vickie Weaver explained this in simpler terms.
“Students are responsible for their actions both on and off campus,” she said.