Former Southeast Missouri State University women’s basketball coach, William (B.J.) Smith was arrested on April 23 by federal authorities in a multi-state car theft conspiracy that involves over 100 vehicles. The 48 year old Smith is one of 16 people who were arrested.
The indictment alleges that the defendants stole luxury automobiles, SUVs, and pickup trucks from individuals and automobile dealerships Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. According to the FBI, they disabled any tracking systems, like OnStar, on the stolen vehicles so that they could not be traced by law enforcement.
Charges include conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud, and receipt of stolen motor vehicle. If convicted, these charges carry penalties ranging from five to 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million.
Smith coached at SEMO for four seasons and led the Lady Redhawks to their first ever NCAA tournament. Smith resigned on December 1, 2006, after he was placed on paid administrative leave for personal reasons. There was also an NCAA investigation into the women’s basketball program.
Here are the names of those arrested:
- Shahadu Sutton, 38, St. Louis
- Tiffany Sutton, 38, St. Louis
- Orlando Preston, 38, St. Louis
- William Smith, 48, Highland, Kansas
- Robert Reece, 40, St. Louis
- John Hicks, 30, St. Louis
- Reginald Davis, 30, Florissant, Missouri
- Steven Pirtle, 45, St. Louis
- Sheldon Mitchell, 42, Ballwin, Missouri
- Chester Wilson, 41, St. Louis
- Arvis Dunbar, 47, St. Louis
- Eugene Dunbar, 63, St. Louis
- Michael Smith, 40, Florissant, Missouri
- Terrelle Marion, 46, Florissant, Missouri
- Jermaine Gamble, 32, in custody
- Joseph Pearson, 38, St. Louis area