Two members of the North Texas football team, including a projected starter, were charged with theft in connection with an incident involving a pair of televisions at a Denton Walmart on Monday and booked into Denton City Jail on Tuesday morning.
Shedrell Devante Ellis, 19, who was listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker following spring practice, and Christopher Devante Loving, 21, a backup tight end, each were held on $100 bail, according to Denton police.
A Walmart employee said he observed three people acting suspiciously in the electronics department June 21, before selecting two televisions — a 32-inch Samsung and a 24-inch Sanyo — and putting them in a shopping cart, according to an arrest affidavit.
Ellis and Loving, police said, then left the store, located at 1515 S. Loop 288, through the garden center without paying for the televisions. One member of the group pushed a cart out of the store with the 32-inch TV before a second man pushed out a separate cart with the 24-inch set, according to the report. Police said the third member of the group left without any merchandise.
The three men loaded the televisions into a car and drove away, according to the report.
During a subsequent interview, Loving admitted to taking the 32-inch television, police said. Ellis admitted to taking the 24-inch unit, according to officers.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of Ellis and Loving, who were charged with theft over $50 but less than $500, according to police records. The charges are Class B misdemeanors.
Ellis and Loving later turned over the televisions to police, according to the affidavit.
UNT coach Dan McCarney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A UNT spokesman said he was not aware of the incident, but he did confirm Ellis’ and Loving’s birth dates that appeared in the affidavit.
Ellis finished with six tackles and forced a fumble while playing in 10 games as a freshman in 2013. The former Paris standout was listed second on the depth chart last season behind Derek Akunne, who received All-Conference USA honorable mention.
Ellis came out of spring practice listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker with junior Jamal Marshall and is projected to play a major role for a UNT’s defense. The Mean Green lost five players to graduation who started in its defensive front seven during its win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at the end of last season.
This spring McCarney mentioned Ellis among four linebackers he expected to emerge in 2014 and help fill the void left by the graduation of starters Will Wright and Zach Orr.
Orr was a first-team All-C-USA selection who finished his career tied with Brad Kassell for third in program history with 365 career tackles.
Loving was highly regarded when he signed with UNT out of Blinn College before last season, but did not arrive in Denton until just before fall practice. The former Klein standout spent the 2013 campaign as a redshirt after he was unable to crack UNT’s rotation at tight end that featured seniors Drew Miller and Daniel Prior.
Loving then broke his hand during practice leading up to the bowl game and missed spring drills. The time Loving missed left McCarney unsure of the junior’s role going forward.
“I don’t know if he can help us win,” McCarney said this spring. “That is what is frustrating for me.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.