St. Thomas Aquinas High football coaches, players stop purse thief

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two coaches and some members of St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s football team stopped a man who allegedly trespassed on school property and stole a purse from an employee, and the coaches are both former Miami Dolphin players.

7News cameras captured the St. Thomas Raiders as they took to the field during their homecoming game against the Plantation team, Friday night.

But Thursday evening, some of these Raiders got to chase after an intruder.

Parents who attended Friday’s game were talking about the takedown, including Linda Pisano, whose son, Noah Botsford, a kicker for the Raiders, helped catch the thief.

“This guy got in campus, he got ahold of a teacher’s wallet or purse and then started to take off,” said Pisano.

The incident occurred at the campus, located at 2801 SW 12th St.

According to police, Kendrick Freeman, 27, jumped the fence and walked into the science building.

“I was at baseball practice, and I saw this guy jump the fence,” student Antonio Piedra said.

Investigators said Freeman went into the school, stole the purse and tried to get away.

“He tried to run through the football field, and then the coaches jumped him,” Piedra said.

Former Miami Dolphins player Jason Taylor, the Raiders’ assistant coach, was among those who ran after Freeman, according to police and witnesses.

“He’s one of the coaches, so I mean, I don’t know, if I was getting chased by Jason Taylor, I’d be scared, too,” another student, Rocco Mirando, said.

“I just think he’s very brave. He’s defending us,” said a student.

But the NFL Hall of Famer, known for his speed and strength when closing in on quarterbacks and anyone else with the ball, had a little help from fellow coach and Dolphin Twan Russell.

“I heard that he tried to steal someone’s wallet, and Jason Taylor tracked him down and, like, stopped him and got it back,” student Ellie Parkinson said.

“My son got home really late from football because he was giving witness statements,” said Linda.

Police said Freeman faked a seizure.

“When the police arrived at St. Thomas, he was leg stripped to the ground, where he continued to resist and faking a seizure,” Broward Circuit Court Judge Jackie Powell said.

When he appeared in court Friday, the suspect motioned that he couldn’t speak when asked a question.

“Deputies, does Mr. Freeman not speak?” Powell asked.

After a few moments, the words finally came to Freeman.

“I go home,” Freeman said.

“Doesn’t seem to be in line with the fact that he was faking illness before,” Powell said. “Now he’s before the court. He was gesturing with his hand and not saying a word. Now he’s saying that he wants to go home.”

For students on their school’s homecoming, the latest security breach was a bit scary. They said they are grateful for the actions of the coaches and Taylor.

“I just think he’s really brave,” Parkinson’s classmate said. “Yeah, like, he’s defending us.”

Freeman has been charged with burglary, petit theft and trespassing on school grounds.

Authorities said he had an active warrant out of South Carolina for robbery.

He is currently being held at the Broward County Jail on $9,500 bond.

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