Former Peach Belt basketball players arrested in store robbery

Monday, Aug 4, 2014 3:26 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014 9:58 AM
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 Editor's note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately identified one of the colleges.

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Saleem
Saleem

An incident report states that one of the two former Peach Belt Conference basketball players arrested Sunday in connection to a gas station armed robbery demanded packs of cigars and cigarettes in addition to cash from a store clerk.

Former USC Aiken forward Santonie Calvin Butler and former Columbus State guard Jahmad Oliajwan Saleem and Cryril Maurice Vickers, of Augusta, all 23, were booked into the Richmond County jail Sunday on charges of armed robbery. Seleem was also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

According to a sheriff’s office incident report, Saleem attempted to purchase beer from Kangaroo Express, 3011 Washington Road, around midnight Saturday, but left after he was denied the purchase. The report did not state why the purchase was denied.

He returned around 2:45 a.m. and asked for a package of Swisher Sweet cigars then pulled out a black handgun and demanded items from behind the counter.

The reports states the clerk handed over all the cash he could pull out by hand, as well as four packs of Swisher Sweet cigars, four packs of Black and Mild cigars and two cartons of Newport cigarettes. The suspect also demaded the clerk’s ID, but the clerk refused to hand it over. As the suspect left, he said, “You didn’t see anything.”

Deputies discovered the suspect’s vehicle while patrolling River Park Commons Townhomes off of Claussen Road. The report states officers waited until the vehicle began moving and then pulled it over for a broken brake light.

All three suspects were in the vehicle as well as clothing that matched the suspect’s description and a black handgun.

Saleem, a Cross Creek High School graduate, was accused earlier this year of stealing credit cards from two students and racking up $544 worth of fraudulent charges, according to the The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. He was found with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket while being apprehended, that report said.

Saleem remained a student at the university despite quitting the basketball team two weeks prior. A Richmond County jail committal listed Saleem as a student at USC Aiken.

Butler, also a former Cross Creek student, joined the Pacers in 2012 after two years at Gard­ner-Webb, according to the USC Aiken athletic Web site. He was part of two USC Aiken teams that made deep runs in the NCAA Division II Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight in 2013 and the Final Four this year,


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