CHICAGO (STMW) — The landlord of a DePaul University assistant basketball coach has been charged with stealing more than $10,000 worth of items from his South Side Kenwood neighborhood home while his family traveled with the team in France.

Michelle Lawrence, 46, of the 4100 block of South Drexel Boulevard is charged with one felony count of theft/unauthorized control of more than $10,000, police said.

Lawrence is accused of stealing property from the home of Billy Garrett, the Blue Demons’ assistant men’s coach — also in the 4100 block of South Drexel. The stolen property included furniture, art, tools, clothing and personal items worth more than $10,000, police said.

Garrett returned to his home on Aug. 23 following a vacation to France during a team trip to find all of his possessions gone. He initially insisted the incident was not a dispute with his landlord, though that is how police classified it.

“They took everything,” Garrett told the Sun-Times last month. “They cleaned us out. Things that can’t be replaced, this really took some time.”

Garrett said priceless family sports memorabilia, as well as his son Billy Jr.’s medical equipment had been stolen.

“My father [William] was the first black that played basketball in the Big 10,” Garrett said. “They took that jersey and his Globetrotter jersey. They also took my son’s city championship ring and oxygen tank.”

Chicago Police last month said Garrett was embroiled in a landlord-tenant dispute and was not the victim of a crime. The landlord had changed the locks and put the Garretts’ possessions in storage, according to police.

But on Thursday, police detailed the charges against Williams and said she was arrested for the theft on Tuesday and charged on Wednesday. Police said it was her first arrest.

Bond was set at $30,000 on Wednesday and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 20 in South Felony Court (Br. 48), Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Garrett last month said his neighbors saw two moving trucks in front of the house, but didn’t think they were sent by his landlord, who, he said, changed the locks after finding the place empty.

“[The landlord] thought the house had been abandoned,” Garrett said. “When she got into the house it looked like it had been ransacked and was in unsanitary condition. She filed a report with the police … so when I showed up to file a report they said one has already been filed.”

Garrett coached basketball and was athletic director at Providence St. Mel from 1994-2000 and worked as an assistant basketball coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Iowa, Seton Hall and Siena before landing at DePaul.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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