By: Ryan Tarinelli
University of Idaho football players Dezmon Epps and Isaiah Taylor were identified Friday as being involved in an Aug. 16 alleged shoplifting incident at the VandalStore.
The university released surveillance video of the incident Friday morning along with a statement.
In a separate statement from Idaho head coach Paul Petrino, he said they took immediate disciplinary action in addition to “strict daily behavioral requirements,” for Epps and Taylor.
“Dezmon Epps and Isaiah Taylor made a serious error in judgment on August 16,” Petrino said in his statement. “Their behavior was not acceptable and completely contradictory to what our team and coaches stand for.”
Epps has complied with the requirements, while Taylor chose not to comply and is no longer on the football team, according to the university statement.
“As long as (Epps) continues to abide by these requirements, there is a place for him in the Vandal family,” Petrino said in his statement.
Although Epps and Taylor were involved in the shoplifting incident Aug. 16, both played in the recent season opener against Ohio University last week.
The Dean of Students office has been informed of the incident and will handle the Student Code of Conduct process, according to the university statement.
According to a police report, a VandalStore employee reported at total of $369.99, in clothing was missing from the store Aug. 16. The statement issued by the university stated the merchandise was valued at $285.
UI spokeswoman Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka said the $369.99 amount listed in the police report was an initial estimate. She said the actual value of the missing merchandise — returned by Petrino — was listed at $285.
At the time of the incident, the store was closed to the public and open to the football team.
Shortly after police began their investigation, Petrino arrived at the store and returned the missing clothing, according to the police report.
After the incident, John Bales, director of the VandalStore, decided not to press charges because the merchandise was promptly recovered and returned to the store, according to the university statement. Bales did not know the identities of the students involved when he decided not to press charges, according to the statement.
“Under the same circumstances, the university would have taken the same action with any other student(s),” according to the university statement.
This is not the first time Epps has been in trouble off the field.
In April 2014, Epps was arrested in Pullman on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Months later, Epps was charged for petty theft after allegedly shoplifting items from WinCo in Moscow and was subsequently dismissed from the football team.
Earlier this year, Epps was charged with two misdemeanors for driving without privileges and for driving without a required ignition interlock device.
“Part of my responsibility to our players is to call them out when they make mistakes, hold them accountable, and help them to learn and move forward,” Petrino said in his statement.
In the season opener, Epps led the team with 15 receptions for 160 yards. Prior to being suspended last season, Epps hauled in 79 receptions for 980 yards and four touchdowns.
Epps joined the UI football team in 2013 as a community college transfer and was the team’s leading receiver that season.
Ryan Tarinelli can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ryantarinelli