A $500 reward is being offered for information that will help catch a thief who hit Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse Saturday and took about $14,000 worth of equipment and personal belongings from a locker room used by Central Missouri State University's basketball team.
KU police today also released a computer-generated composite picture of a suspect in the theft.
KU police have recovered some of the stolen items, including a CMSU jacket and an athletic bag that a Lawrence man said he bought late Saturday night at a local car wash, said KU Police Lt. John Mullens.
The KU faculty, staff and student committee that oversees KU's Crimestopper telephone program, has approved a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the case, Mullens said. The Crimestopper number, which takes confidential calls, is 864-8888.
Meanwhile, Floyd Temple, assistant athletic director for facilities, said he would increase security for future basketball games by putting a second guard in the corridor directly outside the visitors' locker room, located on the southwest side of the fieldhouse.
Using information gathered during the last 24 hours, police have put together a composite, computer-generated picture of the suspect, Mullens said.
MULLENS SAID the suspect is a "stocky" black man with a light complexion, who is about 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, weighs 180-195 pounds and is in his early 20s.
Mullens said the suspect is thought to have been driving a light blue, late model Pontiac Bonneville or Chevrolet Caprice.
The suspect's description and the car's description were given to KU police by a Lawrence man who was wearing a CMSU jacket Monday night at the Bally's LeMans Family Fun Center, 1601 W. 23rd, Mullens said.
Mullens said the owner of the video arcade called police when he saw the man come in wearing the jacket. Police arrived and questioned the man, who said he bought the jacket and an athletic bag about an hour after Saturday night's KU-CMSU game at a car wash in the 1500 block of West Sixth Street, Mullens said.
The man told officers he was washing his car when he was approached by a man offering to sell the items. Although the man wearing the jacket was not arrested, he has not been ruled out as a suspect in the investigation, Mullens said.
Mullens also said two heavy, red warm-up suits belonging to the CMSU team were found by city sanitation workers who were emptying a dumpster Monday at South Pointe Apartments, 2166 W. 26th. Those items were not originally reported stolen, he said.
MULLENS SAID that the descriptions police have so far seem to indicate that only one person was involved in the theft.
Witnesses said they saw a man wearing a CMSU jacket and a snap-brim hat leave Allen Fieldhouse late during Saturday night's game with several other CMSU jackets draped over an arm. They said he also was carrying a large duffel bag.
Other witnesses told police they saw a man with a similar description at the north end of the fieldhouse walking west toward the Burge Union. The man picked up a black bag and got into a two-door, late model car with New Mexico license plates.
"At this point, the descriptions are close enough that we may be just looking at one person," Mullens said. "Of course we may be looking at three different persons also."
Mullens said investigators do not know how the thief got into the locker room, but noted that the area has a lot of traffic during games.
Meanwhile, Mullens said he is hopeful that more of the 15,000 fans who were at the game might be able to help in the investigation.
"We're still hoping there are people out there who saw something and may realize they know something," he said. "We hope they would contact us."
Temple, who was in charge of security at the fieldhouse, said today that until Saturday night's game, the system of putting one security guard to watch the hallway had always worked.
"It's worked as long as I've been here," he said. "It's got a chink in the armor, so we repaired the chink."
Temple said a second security guard will be stationed at future games directly outside the visiting team's locker room. In the past, only one security guard watched the locker area and was stationed several yards away, at the south end of the corridor.