Florida State University quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was cited for allegedly taking seafood from a Tallahassee grocery store without paying, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
As part of the civil citation for alleged shoplifting -- an alternative to criminal prosecution for first-time, nonviolent offenses in the county -- Winston was not arrested but has been ordered to serve at least 20 hours of community service.
Winston, a two-sport athlete, was suspended from FSU’s baseball team but has since been reinstated after he completed his community service on Sunday Afternoon.
The deputy said Winston, only the second freshman to win college football’s most coveted award, allegedly walked into a Publix near the FSU campus Tuesday night, ordered about $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish, and walked out of the store without paying.
After deputies contacted him about three hours later, Winston told them that he forgot to pay, Wood said. “He was very cooperative,” Wood said. “Seemed fairly honest in the fact that he did not pay for the items, so it was not a huge mystery to solve.”
The deputy, who wrote the report based on viewing the Publix surveillance video, then said Winston then came back in the store, collected his seafood and went to the dairy aisle and picked up a package of butter.
As he was leaving the store, Winston appeared to pause in front of a Leon County deputy who was working in-store security detail at the time. The pause, the incident report said, appeared to be an attempt to avoid walking in front of the deputy. He said Winston then walked behind the deputy, past all registers and out of the store.
“I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon,” FSU baseball coach Mike Martin said in a news release.
The school’s football coach, Jimbo Fisher, said, “I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will.”
Sheriff’s Maj. Michael Wood said Winston “most likely” will have to pay Publix the $32, noting that restitution usually is part of the citation program.
A Publix employee noticed Winston left without paying but waited a while to notify a deputy, thinking Winston might have gone outside to get a cart. Wood said civil citations, as opposed to criminal charges, can be given in similar cases at deputies’ discretion, and when the store and the suspect agree to terms. Publix and Winston agreed to this citation, Wood said.