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Three UC basketball players arrested for violent robberies

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Three University of Charleston basketball players are in custody for the violent robberies of at least two men.

The school's athletic community was shocked to learn of the allegations.

Terrell Lipkins, 20, and Robbie Dreher and Quincy Washington, both 22, beat and robbed victims in downtown Charleston over the weekend, according to a criminal complaint.

Lipkins was the team's leading scorer this past season. Dreher and Washington were both among the top four returning scorers. All three suspects are juniors. 

Lipkins was taken into custody Tuesday night. Dreher and Washington turned themselves in early Wednesday, said Lt. Steve Cooper, Charleston Police Department spokesman.

They have been removed from the team and kicked out of student housing, UC President Ed Welch said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

If the allegations are true, they could also be expelled. All three currently have scholarships.

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They are accused of robbing Andrew Rude, 58, and Patrick Morrison, 35, both of Charleston, along Virginia Street East early Sunday, according to the criminal complaint.

They are also "persons of interest" in at least two other muggings that have taken place on or near Virginia Street East downtown since April 14, Cooper said.

Authorities believe they may have targeted intoxicated individuals who were leaving downtown nightclubs.

"We believe a degree of danger in that area has been removed now that we've arrested these three suspects," Cooper said. "It's unfortunate when any young person makes a mistake this grave, especially with the educational opportunity these three guys had because of athletics."   

In another case, John Dolin, 37, of Peytona, Boone County, was found lying unconscious and bloody in an alley in the early morning hours of April 19, according to earlier reports by Charleston police.

Dolin was obviously robbed, Cooper has said.

Although he was listed in critical condition immediately after being taken to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital, his condition has improved.

Washington, Dreher and Lipkins are also persons of interest in a similar robbery near Capitol Street on April 14, Cooper said. 

So far they have been charged only with the Sunday morning robbery.

School shocked

Welch apologized to the community for the players' actions.

"If the allegations are true, they are contrary to everything we teach," he said.  

Welch said he was shocked by the allegations but knew one of the accused had a previous run-in with law enforcement.

Dreher was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in April 2011 while attending Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. He pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and was sentenced to one year of probation, UC Head Basketball Coach Mark Downey said.

Welch said he asked Downey and other officials to conduct a background check on Dreher before he was accepted.

"Those checks did not turn up any negative flags indicating that there would be a likelihood that he would be a problem here," Welch said. "We did our due diligence."

Downey indicated that Dreher's attorneys in the South Carolina case had claimed the basketball standout would have won if the case had gone to trial.

"But he wanted to go back to school," Downey said.

Dreher voluntarily surrendered his scholarship at Winthrop University and came to UC with two years of eligibility left.

Downey said he had no qualms about bringing Dreher into the program.

"After talking to him and his family, I didn't have a second thought," he said.

Downey said he saw no behavior during practice or games that would indicate the trio had any violent tendencies.

He referred to Lipkins as a "very nice kid" who did not cause any trouble. He added that officers told him Lipkins was "nice" during questioning.

Washington had some problems at home before coming to the University of Charleston, Downey said.

Downey said teammates feel "betrayed."

"They're upset," he said.

Questioning

Upon questioning, Lipkins allegedly told officers that he, Washington and Dreher attacked Rude and Morrison from the front and rear, striking them in the face and head, according to the criminal complaint.

Rude suffered a laceration to his scalp and a fractured wrist. Morrison did not sustain any serious injuries.

Lipkins also told officers they took cash and a credit card from the victims, according to the complaint.

Video surveillance was obtained from nearby businesses and the three suspects matched descriptions given by the victims.

Lipkins was later seen at the MacCorkle Avenue 7-Eleven in Kanawha City using a victim's credit card, the complaint says.

Later, the suspects' vehicle, an older model Buick sedan, was found on the UC campus and contained clothing matching those Lipkins is believed to have been wearing at the time of the robberies.

Lipkins is being housed in the South Central Regional Jail on $25,000 bond. He was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and four counts of credit card fraud.

Washington and Dreher were both charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. Bond was set at $200,000 for each.

Dreher is from Greenville, S.C.; Washington is from Florence, S.C.; and Lipkins is from Canton, Ohio.    

Dreher and Washington asked that a public defender represent them.


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