Two Illinois football players charged with theft for stealing a deer statue

College football players have plenty of free time on their hands during the offseason, and two Illinois players allegedly used that free time to pull off a very odd heist. 

According to Champaign News-Gazette, linebackers Jimmy Marchese and Drew Murtaugh stole a deer sculpture named "Startled" from a local park on April 29 and relocated it to their rooftop. The two players have been charged with theft between $500 and $10,000, which carries a sentence ranging from probation to five years in prison.

The two players told police they saw the sculpture lying on the ground while walking home. Maybe they figured they could give it a new home, and their rooftop would be the most appropriate place. The statue is valued at $5,000, according to the report, and measures have been taken to ensure that "Startled" doesn't find its way to anymore rooftops in the Champaign metro area.

"We had to have the artist come and do some work on it. We think we got it worked out to where it would be a lot harder for anyone to take it out again," said park district director Joe DeLuce.

Marchese, a rising junior, started two games for the Illini in 2017, and had 18 tackles including one for a loss. Murtaugh took a redshirt.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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