• Court diversion for three CSC athletes charged with thefts
     | February 11,2014

    RUTLAND — Two of the six Castleton State College student athletes charged with stealing merchandise from a sporting goods store in Rutland Town have completed a court diversion process and have had the charges against them dismissed.

    Students George A. Busharis, 19, of Mansfield, Mass., and Mark Comstock have both completed court diversion, according to court records. The details of the court diversion process that they went through are confidential. However, diversion cases generally involve restitution work on the part of an offender who has taken responsibility for a crime. In exchange for taking responsibility and performing restitution, the criminal case against a defendant is dropped and information about the case is eventually sealed.

    Only defendants charged with misdemeanor offenses are allowed to participate in diversion.

    Both Busharis and Comstock faced misdemeanor counts of retail theft for their role in what Vermont State Police said were multiple thefts by members of the CSC football and soccer teams who stole more than $1,000 from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

    Police say Busharis and Comstock conspired with Brandon Boyle, another CSC student athlete, who worked at the store. A felony charge of retail theft is still pending against Boyle, who has pleaded not guilty to the offense.

    Police said that by using computer transaction records and surveillance footage from the store, they identified several occasions in which Busharis, Comstock and the other student athletes approached the counter where Boyle was working with a large amount of merchandise. Boyle would scan each item into the store’s computer system, then void out all but one inexpensive item, police said.

    Managers at Dick’s became suspicious of Boyle, police said, after they noticed a pattern of voided transactions on his part totaling thousands of dollars. The store tracked credit card numbers to link customers to those transactions, according to court records.

    When police arrested Busharis in the parking lot after being called by the store Sept. 10, according to affidavits, he had about $300 worth of merchandise, but his receipt showed him paying only $3.20 for a single bottle of 5-hour Energy drink.

    Three other students charged in the theft ring, Eric N. Cross, Dominic S. Heller and Zachary J. Howe, all pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.

    The status of their cases is unknown. Their cases are no longer on file at Rutland criminal court. However, that doesn’t mean they were dismissed. Cases referred to court diversion are confidential, according to court clerk Laurie Canty, until participants either complete the process or flunk out and return to face their criminal charges.

    The Rutland Herald could not confirm whether Cross, Heller and Howe are participating in the diversion process.

    @Tagline:brent.curtis @rutlandherald.com

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