Martha’s Vineyard high school athlete charged with burglary


Deshawn James, 18, of Oak Bluffs, a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School varsity basketball team, was arraigned Monday, December 17, in Edgartown District Court on two counts of breaking and entering a building during daytime to commit a felony, three counts of larceny from a building, and one count of breaking and entering a building during nighttime to commit a felony, following an investigation by Oak Bluffs Police into multiple thefts of cash from the same house.

Mr. James entered the house on three separate occasions in November and December while the occupants slept and stole varying amounts of cash totaling $2,000, police said. The homeowner bought a web-based surveillance camera that recorded a young man police later identified as Mr. James walking through the house while she was at work, Lt. Tim Williamson said.

Mr. James admitted to the thefts, according to the police report. He told police he moved from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard to live with his older brother, after his parents died. He said he has to support himself and buy his own food and clothing.

Police said Mr. James appeared to be “remorseful for his actions.” As a result, police did not arrest him but issued a summons for him to appear in court.

Police discovered an image of Mr. James on his Facebook page “holding what appears to be several hundred dollars, fanning the bills in a flashy manner with his middle finger raised,” displaying the money that was likely stolen, according to the police report.

Mr. James continues to play on the varsity basketball team. He scored 16 points against Abington Saturday.

According to the school athletic policy, any student caught with tobacco, alcohol or drugs shall lose his or her eligibility once the principal confirms the violation, and following an opportunity for the student to be heard.

In a telephone call Friday, Superintendent of School James Weiss said that he had been in touch with the high school, and at this point Mr. James has only been arraigned and is still presumed innocent.

“Should he be found guilty, we would review the situation and take appropriate action,” Mr. Weiss said.