Gonzo charged with shoplifting
Update: according to the Associated Press, Gonzalez pleaded not guilty when arraigned Wednesday morning on shoplifting and criminal mischief charges. The former coach’s arraignment was held in Newark.
Former men’s basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez, 47, has been charged with shoplifting from the Short Hills Mall, according to NJ.com sources on Tuesday afternoon.
As first reported by NJ.com/The Star-Ledger’s Brendan Prunty, Gonzalez allegedly stole a satchel from the Polo Ralph Lauren store in the mall, valued at $1,395, on June 29.
The Millburn Police Department have charged the former Pirates coach with shoplifting and criminal mischief, according to NJ.com. He was charged on Monday and released.
Gonzalez still resides in Harrison, N.Y., about an hour away from Millburn.
A report on NorthJersey.com added that the satchel was returned to the Polo Ralph Lauren store by the manager of a restaurant, Joe’s American Bar and Grill, who said the item was left behind by a person who never came back for it.
Damage on the satchel where the security sensor tag would have been was what launched the investigation, according to multiple reports.
Gerald Krovatin, Gonzalez’s attorney, told the Associated Press that Gonzalez will plead not guilty. Krovatin added that the charges are a “series of misunderstandings.”
“He was not taken into custody,” Krovatin said to the AP. “He was not handcuffed. He not arrested. He was issued summonses and complaints and went home.”
The AP report also said a shoplifting charge is punishable by up to five years in jail as a third-degree offense, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. However, the spokeswoman for the office also said the case can be downgraded, heard in county court or heard in municipal court.
Gonzalez was fired from his head coaching position on March 17. Since, he has sued the university regarding his termination – in that there was no cause for it and that he is owed two remaining years of salary. Krovatin is representing Gonzalez in the lawsuit.
He also did a video interview with Prunty for NJ.com, where Gonzalez made candid comments about University President Emeritus Msgr. Robert Sheeran and Athletic Director Joe Quinlan.
Brian Wisowaty can be reached at email@example.com.