A Havelock teenager who is a highly recruited football player has been charged in connection with the theft of computer equipment from Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School.
Micheal James Bowman, 18, a senior wide receiver on the Havelock High football team,has been charged with 16 counts of misdemeanor larceny, according to a release from the Havelock Police Department.
Bowman had announced in March his intention to play football at the University of South Carolina starting in the fall of 2015, picking the Gamecocks over N.C. State. He has been a part of three consecutive state championship teams at Havelock High and last year totaled 52 catches for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The magistrate’s office issued 16 criminal summonses that Havelock police delivered to Bowman Friday morning at Havelock High School, according to Lt. Brian Woods of the Havelock Police Department. A summons carries the weight of an arrest and indicates a date in which the subject is to appear in court on the charges, and can be used in misdemeanor cases. Bowman was not taken to jail or even placed in handcuffs. His court date is scheduled for Sept. 5.
Woods would not elaborate on the evidence or investigation that prompted the charges against Bowman.
The charges involve the thefts of six iPads and two iPods belonging to the Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School and eight other iPods belonging to an employee at the school, according to the release. The thefts occurred individually over a period of about five weeks from June 9 to July 16 while Bowman worked for a private company contracted to clean the school during the summer break, according to the release.
A school employee filed a police report about the thefts on Aug. 7.
Havelock police worked with the Craven County District Attorney’s Office as part of the investigation.
District Attorney Scott Thomas said that no breaking and entering occurred during Bowman’s alleged theft of the items.
“He was lawfully permitted to be in the school,” Thomas said.
He explained that since there was no break-in and that since each item had a value of less than $1,000, Bowman was charged with separate misdemeanors for each alleged theft. According to state law, items that are stolen valued at $1,000 or more can carry felony charges.
Jennifer Wagner, a spokeswoman for Craven County Schools, said earlier this week that each school iPad had a value of $429 and each iPod was valued at $200, making the total approximate value of the theft $4,574. She said the devices provide students with 21st-century technology to enhance learning.
The maximum sentence for a Class I misdemeanor larceny conviction is 45 days, but Thomas explained that given Bowman has no other convictions, a judge would be required to make a probationary sentence.
Thomas would not comment as to the evidence and investigation that prompted Bowman’s charges.
The charges come on the same day that Havelock is scheduled to play county rival New Bern at 7 p.m. at Havelock High.
Bowman had been expected to be one of the senior leaders on this year’s football team. Rumors began to circulate last week about his possible involvement in the thefts, and he was not on the sidelines and his name was not listed on the team roster in the school’s program when the Rams opened the season last week against Washington. After Havelock’s 37-6 victory, Coach Jim Bob Bryant said that Bowman’s absence was a “team issue,” and he declined further comment.