Virginia Tech on Sunday confirmed swirling rumors that its football team had items stolen from its locker room during a 20-17 loss Saturday at Old Dominion.
“The Virginia Tech athletic department confirmed there were items missing from the Virginia Tech locker room following the football game against Old Dominion in Norfolk Friday night,” Virginia Tech wrote in a statement, as reported by The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. “The university is working with law enforcement and Old Dominion University on the matter, and will have no further comment.”
An investigation is ongoing at ODU, interim University Police Chief Garrett Shelton said, adding that the total value of the missing items was less than $8,000 — and not the $20,000 rumored on social media..
Asked whether the items might have been left unsecured, Shelton declined to speculate.
“Obviously, it’s a possibility,” he said. “Anything’s a possibility. The thing I can tell you is it was there before the game started. It wasn’t there when the game ended. So something happened.”
Citing the integrity of the investigation, Shelton declined to reveal the nature of the missing items.
“ODU Athletics has been working with Virginia Tech and the Old Dominion Police Department since we became aware of the theft of personal property of a few Virginia Tech student-athletes on Friday night,” the school said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon, The Virginian-Pilot reported. “ODU athletics sincerely apologizes to Virginia Tech, the Virginia Tech athletic administration and the young men who had items stolen. The ODU Police Department is working diligently to resolve this incident.”
Shelton, whose department escorts visiting teams to and from the stadium, said he often tells their coaches that he hopes every player leaves as healthy as he was when he arrived.
“People may think of that as physically,” Shelton said. “But if you’ve ever had something stolen from you, you know it’s a violation. It is not healthy, and it is not good for you. This goes along that same path. We need to take the steps we can to make sure that we identify if we have any place that we need to make adjustments and make them.
“I think we’re making progress,” he continued, “and I am thankful to everyone that was involved in it and their communication with us, because that’s what helps us. It’s active and it’s ongoing, and as we get more information, even between Blacksburg and here, it helps us follow those leads. I think we’re early in it, but we are still actively moving forward, which is a good sign.”