GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer said today (Thursday) that safety Tony Joiner will not play this Saturday if Joiner's felony charge for attempted theft hasn't been dropped or reduced by game time.
Joiner was arrested early Tuesday morning for allegedly attempting to break into an impound yard owned by Watson's Towing and Recovery. Joiner was trying to retrieve his girlfriend's car. The strong safety was charged with a second-degree felony and spent Tuesday morning in jail. He returned to practice on Wednesday.
The state attorney's office was scheduled to receive the case from the Gainesville Police Department late this week or early next week. Chief investigator Spencer Mann said the investigation could last up to 30 days, although Mann expects the matter to be resolved before then.
Meanwhile, the owner of Watson's Towing and Recovery drove to Baton Rouge on Thursday for the Gators' away game against LSU.
Joiner was arrested around 5 a.m. on Tuesday after he allegedly pushed open a the towing service's gated electric fence and drove his girlfriend's vehicle out of the compound.
Stan Forron, the property owner (lease holder) of the land where Watson's Towing and Recovery is located, said that the incident was a big miscommunication and that the business is "not interested in pressing charges."
Forron is the brother-in-law of Celeste Forron, the owner of Watson's Towing and Recovery, according to Ryan Williams, a company manager. Celeste Forron and her husband, Greg, were driving to Baton Rouge on Thursday.
Celeste Forron declined to speak with The Miami Herald on Thursday.
"She's driving right now," said Greg Forron, who owns a business called University Vending. "We're on the way to a football game. We're not interested in talking with any reporters." CLICK!
According to Stan Forron, Joiner called the towing service before he arrived and told Forron he was on the way to pick up the car. Forron told The Miami Herald he left the gate unlocked.
On his way to the Alachua County Jail, Joiner told police that he intended to pay for the tow but became impatient waiting for the company's dispatchers to arrive. Two dispatchers were on duty but, according to Stan Forron, they had either left the premises or "were in the back eating."
Stan Forron says the dispatchers returned to their posts to find a burglary in process. The dispatchers called the police. But Stan Forron says the dispatchers asked for their complaint to be withdrawn once the police arrived.
The police report of the incident and the dispatchers taped phone calls to the police tell a different story. (The phones calls were released to The Miami Herald on Thursday. They are unedited (names not omitted) by the police because the dispatchers did not call 911. They called an administrative phone at the police station. Only 911 tapes, apparently, must be edited.)
According to the police report, there is no mention of a complaint withdrawal and a Gainesville police department spokesman said that Stan Forron was never at the business that morning.
Forron told The Miami Herald that "the boys didn't know I was there because I was in the back." (The same "back" where the "boys" were eating?)
The dispatchers made two phone calls to the police. The first phone call identified the alleged car thief as "Tony Joiner, the Gator." The second phone call urged the police to hurry up because "they're getting up in our face and [expletive]. They already broke into the yard and I blocked them in."
Shouting can be heard in the background of the second taped phone call.
If Joiner is not allowed to play against LSU on Saturday night, then redshirt sophomore safety Dorian Munroe (Miami Coral Reef) will likely take Joiner's place in the starting line-up. Joiner ranks fifth on the team in tackles (20).
Munroe, who has played in every game this season, started at nickel back against Troy. He also filled in for Joiner for most of last season's SEC championship win against Arkansas when Joiner left the game with an injury.