UI suspends three wrestlers after string of burglaries
Three University of Iowa wrestlers, who have burglary charges pending against them for a string of vehicle break-ins last week in Marion, were suspended from the team by coach Tom Brands on Monday.
Ross Lembeck, Logan Ryan and Seth Gross — three freshmen who redshirted this past season — were pulled over by Marion Police and charged for alcohol-related offenses in the early hours of March 18 after officers responded to a call for a theft in progress in the Hunters Ridge neighborhood.
Lembeck, 19, of Lisbon, was charged with drunken driving and possession of alcohol under the legal age. Gross, 19, of Apple Valley, Minn., was charged with open container, possession of alcohol under the legal age and interference with official acts. Ryan, 19, was charged with possession of alcohol under the legal age.
Marion Police Lt. Scott Elam said the three are also being investigated for their possible involvement in upward of seven vehicle burglaries that night near Hunters Ridge Golf Course. Those charges are still pending.
Elam said stolen property was recovered in the wrestlers' vehicle, and that reports were still coming in from residents who had items taken from vehicles in the days after the crimes.
Elam said Gross was charged with interference with official acts after refusing to follow commands and fighting with officers.
Elam said some of the vehicles that had missing items were parked inside of garages, meaning the potential charges could include burglary to a building as well as burglary to a vehicle. He said the wrestlers could face a combination of charges for second-degree burglary, a Class C felony, and third-degree burglary from a motor vehicle, an aggravated misdemeanor.
"We're still trying to sort some stuff out, and we're still taking reports as of today," Elam said.
UI wrestling coach Tom Brands issued a statement Monday afternoon saying the three wrestlers had been suspended indefinitely.
"I am extremely disappointed with the decision-making of these three young men," Brands said in the statement. "I am currently gathering the facts and will use the UI's student code of conduct and our team rules as my starting points to address the situation."
Gross and Ryan were expected to contend for Iowa's starting job at 141 pounds next season.
Gross was three-time freestyle national champion and three-time Minnesota state high school champion at traditional power Apple Valley. He compiled a 12-4 record while competing unattached this past season as a true freshman, and he won the Maryville Kaufman Brand Open.
Ryan was two-time state champion for Bettendorf, and he compiled a 22-6 record while competing unattached this past season as a true freshman.
Lembeck was a four-time state medalist at Linn-Mar. He went 7-4 in open competition at 157 pounds this past season as a true freshman competing unattached.
Reach Josh O'Leary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-5415, and follow him on Twitter at @JD_OLeary.
Des Moines Register reporter Andy Hamilton contributed to this story.