LSU

LSU suspends linebacker over burglary arrest in Georgia

LSU linebacker Tyler Taylor, 24, tackles BYU defensive lineman Langi Tuifua, 49, during his first college game last season. Taylor has been suspended from the football team, LSU announced Wednesday, Aug., 8, 2018.
LSU linebacker Tyler Taylor, 24, tackles BYU defensive lineman Langi Tuifua, 49, during his first college game last season. Taylor has been suspended from the football team, LSU announced Wednesday, Aug., 8, 2018. Advocate staff photo

Suspended LSU linebacker Tyler Taylor plans to plead not guilty after he was arrested in May for reportedly serving as the getaway driver in the burglary of a Georgia pawn shop, Taylor’s lawyer said.

Georgia-based attorney Peter Zeliff told The Advocate Thursday morning “we are maintaining to plea not guilty.”

“I think Tyler has a bright future,” Zeliff said. “I don’t want anybody to prejudge the case.”

Zeliff said there has not been a court date set, and he declined further comment on the case.

Zeliff declined to comment on whether Taylor, 19, notified LSU of his arrest. He is listed as a sophomore on the team roster.

According to the LSU Student-Athlete Handbook, a player is required to report an arrest “immediately (within 24 hours)“ to their head coach and student services administrator.

“Failure to comply with this requirement may be grounds for dismissal from the athletics program and revocation of your athletics scholarship,” the handbook says.

LSU athletic officials confirmed Wednesday that they learned of Taylor’s case on Wednesday, and that he is suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.

The LSU handbook also says that players who are charged with felonies “will be immediately suspended from participation in intercollegiate athletics.”

Taylor, who played in all of LSU’s 13 games last season, had been practicing with the football team since preseason camp began Saturday. He did not practice with the team on Wednesday.

According to a bond condition document Zeliff shared with The Advocate, Taylor was granted June 22 the ability to leave the state of Georgia with the conditions that he did not “violate any laws,” “possess nor consume any controlled substances without a prescription,” “possess nor consume any alcoholic beverage,” and to “appear in Court when required.”

An incident report by the Cumming Police Department said that in the early morning of Jan. 8, three men and a juvenile broke into a pawn shop in Cumming, Georgia, stole several firearms and fled the scene in a vehicle driven by Taylor.

The report said a Cumming police officer obtained arrest warrants May 27 for Taylor, for conspiracy to commit a crime, party to a crime and theft by receiving stolen property.

On May 31, Taylor was booked into a local jail, and nearly five hours later he posted bond for the total sum of $33,550, according to the booking report from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

The Cumming incident report included details of surveillance video, which showed four people breaking into the pawn shop, Pawnopoly, at 2:45 a.m. Jan. 8, by breaking through the glass window in the front door. Cumming is 12 miles northwest of Taylor’s hometown of Buford, Georgia.

According to the report, eight shotguns, three rifles and a semi-automatic rifle were stolen.

The report says the surveillance video showed the four people running away from the pawn shop.

The ensuing investigation lasted several months, according to the report, which says the Cumming Police Department obtained Taylor’s phone records that revealed his phone “pinged at the pawn shop on the morning of the burglary.”

The report also said one of the arrested suspects who robbed the pawn shop told an officer that Taylor had assisted in the burglary.

“Taylor did not get out of the vehicle and assist in breaking into the pawn shop, but did drive all parties to the location and drove all parties away after the burglary had been committed,” the report says. “Taylor, when spoke to, chose not to speak to law enforcement and wanted to seek legal representation.”

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