2 Ex-Cleveland State Players Arrested In Sabathia Robbery

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Police say they solved the armed robbery of Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia when they arrested former Cleveland State University basketball players Jamaal Harris and Damon Stringer.

Both men were arrested Wednesday without incident. They were jailed and are awaiting a court appearance Friday on one count each of aggravated robbery.

Police Sgt. Donna Bell said Stringer, also a former Ohio State player, was arrested in Cleveland and Harris, 23, was arrested in nearby Cleveland Heights.

Their homes were searched and evidence was seized, said Bell, who did not provide details of the seizures. She attributed the arrests to "investigative techniques."

Police had reviewed surveillance tapes from a Marriott hotel after the holdup. No one was injured in the robbery last Friday morning at the hotel.

Sabathia was aware that warrants had been issued but hadn't been given the identities of the suspects, an Indians spokesman said Wednesday night in Detroit, where the Tigers beat the Indians 2-0.

Sabathia, 21, and his cousin, Chauncey Connors, 22, of Vallejo, Calif., were robbed at gunpoint as they were about to leave a hotel party they had attended with several people they met earlier in the evening.

Sabathia was robbed of $44,102 in cash and jewelry, including a necklace and earrings.

The former first-round draft pick was 17-5 as a rookie last season. He finished second in American League Rookie of the Year balloting to Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

Sabathia is the second Indians player to be the victim of a holdup in the last six months. Utilityman Jolbert Cabrera was shot in the buttocks during a carjacking in Colombia in December.

Stringer, who went to Cleveland Heights High School, was selected as Mr. Basketball for Ohio in 1995. He was part of Ohio State's highly touted recruiting class that began play in 1995-96.

Stringer played two seasons at Ohio State, leading the team in scoring as a freshman and a sophomore, and was chosen as Big Ten Conference freshman of the year.

Stringer left Ohio State because of legal problems. He pleaded no contest to assault charges in 1998. Police said he attacked a motorist and caused $3,971 in damage to his vehicle by jumping up and down on the roof and hood. Stringer was fined $100, and given a suspended 30-day jail sentence.

Stringer and teammate Trent Jackson were arrested in 1997 after a fight with police at an off-campus bar. Both were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but the charges were dropped.

Harris was a fifth-year senior last season at Cleveland State.

Before enrolling there, he led Cleveland Heights to the Division I state championship as a guard.

Paulette Welch, sports information director at the university, said Cleveland State hadn't been informed of the arrests. She said Vikings basketball coach Rollie Massimino was traveling out of town and couldn't be reached.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)