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Wake Forest Recruit Faces Charges

February 18, 1998 GMT

KINSTON, N.C. (AP) _ Craig Dawson, an All-America prep basketball player who has signed a letter of intent with Wake Forest, has been charged with three felonies in connection with a series of clothing store thefts.

Dawson and Kinston High School teammate Derek Becton are among 12 people arrested last week in connection with the thefts from Goody’s Family Clothing in Kinston last summer.

All 12 have been charged with embezzlement, larceny by an employee and conspiracy to commit a felony. Authorities said the thefts were carried out with the help of a former store employee and involved goods valued at between $30,000 and $40,000.


Dawson and Becton were released on $5,000 bond each.

Kinston coach Craig Hill is allowing Dawson and Becton to continue playing.

``These are young people from good families.... These were clean kids,″ Hill said. ``They probably just got caught up in something and didn’t understand the long-term ramifications. It’s a difficult situation, but we don’t want to punish them for something they may be found innocent of.″

Hill said Wake Forest coach Dave Odom planned to wait for the case to be resolved before deciding if he wants Dawson to join his program.

``Coach Odom said he wanted to be there for me,″ Dawson said. ``My plans are still to go to Wake Forest and put this behind me.″