Two men who were arrested last week on allegations that they stole jerseys from a restricted area at the NFL Draft in Kansas City have been identified as student journalists at the University of Southern California.
Eric Lambkins, 41, and Jude Ocañas, 19, were arrested after the Draft following accusations that they used their media credentials to gain access to restricted areas where they later allegedly swiped the jerseys.
On Wednesday, the USC Annenberg student newsroom published a story that identified the two men as students in the journalism program who were given media credentials to attend the NFL Draft. The pair were among five USC students who were the first to be granted permission to attend the draft on behalf of the school, the article says.
The student journalists described the arrest as taking place while they sat on a plane awaiting their return trip. The report states that Kansas City police officers boarded the plane and detained them. Each man has since made bond and returned to campus, according to the school.
Annenberg described the two students as exemplary journalists of integrity and acclaim. Lambkins is referred to as a graduate student, a United States Army veteran and a managing editor for the student publication. Ocañas is described as a freshman journalism major with “outstanding academic performance” who dreams of becoming an NFL analyst.
When reached for comment, USC provided the following statement to KTLA:
“While limited by student privacy laws in what we can share, we are cooperating with the authorities in this matter and will follow our internal processes with respect to any allegations of misconduct.”University of Southern California statement
The same statement was issued to other publications, including Annenberg.
The NFL Draft is a yearly event in which college football’s top players are selected by their new teams and welcomes into the NFL. As part of Round 1 of the draft, each draftee selected receives a custom jersey for their new team. Those in attendance to accept the jerseys also get them customized with their last names.
According to earlier reporting by KTLA sister station WDAF, three jerseys were taken from Nike’s designated room Friday morning.
The three jerseys belonged to the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers — it was unclear if the jerseys were left over from the previous evening’s ceremonies or if they belonged to any drafted players.
Each jersey was said to be valued at $350.
Lambkins and Ocañas are expected to face charges of second degree burglary and a misdemeanor count of trespassing in the first degree.