Niagara Gazette

April 4, 2013

Newfane High School baseball players arrested in South Carolina

STAFF REPORTS
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Several members of the Newfane high school baseball team were charged Tuesday with shoplifting during the team's spring trip in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

According to police reports, seven teens were apprehended Tuesday at Broadway on the Beach, a large entertainment complex in Myrtle Beach.

Official reports indicate four of the suspects are from Lockport and Newfane. Only three were identified: Brian P. Ratajczak, 18; Reid J.J. Weber, 18; and Mitchell L. Valery, 18. A spokesperson for the Myrtle Beach police department said that the names of suspects under the age of 18 are not made public.

A fourth suspect whose name was not released was listed as hailing from Lockport. The hometowns of the other three were not listed.

Police were called to Sunglass Hut South one of several stores located in the vast Broadway on the Beach property, which is also known for its restaurants, hotels, bars and other entertainment destinations.

According to the report a complainant told officers that he had been alerted by officials from another store of male shoplifters. The complainant said that at 7:45 p.m. several teens matching the description entered the Sunglass Hut store. They left less than 10 minutes later.

The complainant told police that he "immediately noticed several pairs of glasses missing from the store, and contacted Broadway security to attempt to locate the offenders."

An inventory indicated that five pairs of sunglasses ranging in value from $130 to $300 were missing.

According to the arrest report, store surveillance shows at least three suspects taking glasses from the display and concealing them, while the other offenders distracted the complainant by asking questions about other items.

Broadway security stopped a vehicle in which the suspects were traveling. According to the report, when asked about the glasses, the suspects all turned over a pair of glasses. An officer was also able to "obtain several other items from other stores that the offenders advised had been stolen."

Two of the suspects were issued juvenile summons for shoplifting and were released. The other five were issued warrants for shoplifting.

The Newfane baseball team is in Myrtle Beach for the Mingo Bay tournament, a popular destination for northern U.S. high school teams in April.

Captain David Knipes called Tuesday's arrests an isolated incident.

"We pretty much have high school teams down here all the time," Knipes said. "We haven't had too many problems with them. Most of the teams are well chaperoned."

The Newfane school district is in recess for spring break, and there were no district officials available to comment.