UPDATE (3:35p ET): The Mac-centric site CultofMac.com reported last Thursday that Phil Knight gave 550 laptops at a cost of $1M to Oregon athletes that were specially engraved to prevent theft.
Engraver Joe Mansfield:
The 550 laptops were gifted to the University of Oregon by Nike (Phil Knight).
I pitched the idea of branding the laptops with laser engraving both for aesthetic and security reasons. The laptops have a unique identifier number engraved on the underside for inventory purposes.
Mind-boggling irony given what UO athletes Masoli and Embry stand accused of today.
Lindsay Schnell of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN confirms this afternoon that University of Oregon starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who has served jail time in the past for admitted armed robberies, has been accused of theft in a Univ. of Oregon fraternity house:
The Eugene Police Department confirmed this morning that its officers are investigating an alleged theft, and the student who filed the report has told The Oregonian that the men he accuses in it are University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry.
Fraternity member Max Wolfard filed a police report alleging that the players took two MacBook Pro computers valued at $2,000 apiece and a $900 guitar from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at 812 E. 14th Ave. in Eugene early Sunday.
Wolfard was quoted by the Oregonian about the incident.
“The minute I stepped on the staircase I said to myself, ‘Wow, Masoli and Embry are in our house right now,” Wolfard told The Oregonian on Sunday afternoon. “Masoli has a very distinctive face, very distinctive facial hair — not to mention I see him on TV all the time.”
Wolfard said he didn’t think anything of Masoli and Embry’s presence at first given that he’d seen them at the house before. But when they started to act “suspicious” — and appeared to be hiding something — he demanded to know what they were doing. It was then that Wolfard noticed Embry was carrying what appeared to be Wolfard’s projector screen, valued at $560.
Wolfard said the two players then ran out the back door. Wolfard said Masoli fled north and Embry went east up Agate Street as Wolford chased him. Blocks later, Wolfard says, Embry stopped running, gave him back his projector screen and said, “You’ve got it back, now you better get out of here.”
Wolfard, who said there was no evidence of forced entry at the fraternity house, returned to his room to find his guitar and computer missing and then called police. Max Iantorno, 20, a sophomore, arrived at the fraternity house soon afterward to find his door open and his laptop missing.
The Oregon athletic dept. is, for the moment, silent about the incident. As are the police. Masoli has not been charged or booked for anything and it is not known yet if police have even talked to him.
In a profile of Masoli on Nov. 9, 2009, Adam Jude of the Eugene Register-Guard wrote:
Masoli is unwilling to discuss the details of his guilty plea for the robberies in and around San Mateo, Calif., in 2005, which resulted in his expulsion from Serra High and a stint in the juvenile detention center.
But, speaking in general terms, Masoli acknowledged the significance of his experience in the detention center.
“I definitely grew up quickly,” he said. “Once you go inside, you definitely have to grow up quickly.”
Juvenile court records are closed, but media accounts and a source close to the school confirmed that Masoli was one of several Serra football players arrested in June 2005, and subsequently expelled, for targeting individuals at San Mateo’s Hillsdale Mall and isolated bus stops in the area, muscling them for money.
A respected student and a team captain, Masoli pleaded guilty to robbery, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
With Masoli’s past guilty pleas to robberies in California, this could get very ugly, very fast.