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Second man arrested in FSU theft

By wire services
Published November 18, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - A staff attorney for the state's utility regulator was arrested Thursday on a felony charge of possessing stolen property for his role in the theft of two Florida State national football championship trophies.

Jason P. Rojas, 28, was booked Thursday at the Leon County Jail after returning the second crystal football to authorities Wednesday night, school investigators said. He had kept it at his home wrapped in a garbage bag.

Rojas, who is employed by the Public Service Commission, was placed on indefinite administrative leave by the agency Thursday. He will continue to be paid, commission spokesman Kevin Bloom said.

Rojas is the son of former state Rep. Luis Rojas, who served in the House of Representatives during the period Florida State president T.K. Wetherell served as speaker.

A self-described 25-year-old boat captain from Fort Walton Beach, John Piowaty, was charged Wednesday with felony burglary and grand theft.

Both men are graduates of Florida and neither has a previous criminal record, Florida State police said. Both cooperated fully, investigators said Thursday.

Wetherell said he was open to possibly reducing the charges if the defendants cooperate and make restitution for two replacement trophies that cost $15,000 plus investigation expenses.

The first recovered trophy was retrieved from a commercial storage facility in Fort Walton Beach.

EX-PLAYER EXTRADITED: A former Central Michigan player has been extradited from Florida and arraigned on second-degree murder and other charges in the fatal beating of a man outside a bar in June. Michael L. Thomas, 23, of Fort Myers also is charged with involuntary manslaughter, assault with intent to do great bodily harm and perjury. Isabella County Trial Court Judge William Rush ordered Thomas to remain in jail on a $1.1-million bond. Thomas is the last of six people to be arraigned on second-degree murder charges in the attack on DeMarcus Graham, 26, of Flint, who died after being beaten outside a Mount Pleasant, Mich., bar in 2004.

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