Ceres Police have arrested a youth league football coach for his supposed involvement in a robbery of a pizza restaurant where his team was holding an event.
Daniel McGill, 28, is a coach with the Cardinals of the Trans Valley Youth Football League which serves kids 6-14 years old.
About 60 kids, adults and parents were eating at the Rico’s Pizza restaurant on East Hatch Road two weeks ago. The event went past midnight when an argument took place with a clerk. The clerk was attacked and the cash register broken open.
After the incident, the team President Anthony Estrada and McGill told police they did know who were involved even though they had been a part of the event for over six hours.
But security cameras showed that McGill was the man who first argued with the clerk. He spoke briefly to a second man who went behind the counter and struck the clerk. The second suspect then threw the cash register to the ground and took some cash.
Both McGill and Estrada were suspended by the league even before the arrest. League president John Nixon told FOX40 News that Estrada told league officials during a meeting that he knew who the robbers were but would not give up the names.
McGill earlier told police and news reporters that he and his family left as the incident occurred and didn’t know anything about the altercation or robbery. Both dismissed claims that they were uncooperative with police.
“That does not set a good example for the kids. That’s not what we teach on our teams,” said Nixon.
Nixon said it was implausible that the two didn’t know the suspects after spending so much time with them. He said the suspensions will be in effect pending the outcome of the criminal case and of the league’s own investigation into the incident.
A second subject of scrutiny will be the presence of alcohol at the event which police suspect played a role in the incident. Nixon said coaches are not supposed to smoke or drink in the presence of players. Rico’s sells beer to patrons.
Ceres Police Sgt. Jose Berber said they have a good idea who the second suspect in the video is but could still use tips in identifying and locating him.
Berber said adults at the event were uncooperative at first, but after news reports of the incident were published a flood of anonymous tips started coming in.
“They maybe realized that these two individuals tarnished the organization which is for children and perhaps that inspired them to come forward,” said Berber.
McGill faces charges of robbery, harboring a criminal and resisting arrest.