Gophers football player Ge'Shun Harris was dismissed from the team Thursday for a violation of team rules stemming from criminal charges filed against the wide receiver.
"We had no idea about this situation until today," Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "Based on our team policies and the way we run our program, Ge'Shun Harris was immediately dismissed from our football program. Every member of our team is well-aware of our expectations of them and how we enforce our team policies."
Harris was charged with credit card fraud after allegedly making more than $800 in purchases with an American Express card that was taken from a bag at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The complaint, filed in Ramsey County District Court, states that Harris took the bag from an airport carousel in January and then used the card on Jan. 11 at a gas station in Minneapolis, a Macy's store in Roseville and at GNC stores in Minneapolis and in Roseville.
An airport police detective retrieved photos of Harris from the Gophers football roster, the charges say, "and he verified that the images matched the images of the thief from the airport and Macy's store."
The complaint adds that Harris initially claimed in a phone call with the detective that he had grabbed the wrong bag from the carousel and, fearing he would be arrested for stealing, kept it and then went through it "to try to reunite it with its owner."
But when asked if he had used the card, he acknowledged doing so to make purchases at the four stores, the charges say.
Harris, 20, of Corona, Calif., has been charged with financial transaction card fraud, a felony, and has been summoned to appear in Ramsey County District Court on April 4.
A review of state court records shows that Harris also was cited for misdemeanor theft in Ramsey County last August and petty-misdemeanor theft in Hennepin County in October. He pleaded guilty to the Hennepin County charge in December and was ordered to pay a $100 fine.
The Ramsey County citation states that Harris was caught shoplifting at the Wal-Mart store at 1450 W. University Av., St. Paul. He is scheduled for a hearing in that case on April 2.
In January 2011, Harris transferred to the University of Minnesota from Arizona Western College, where he scored 12 touchdowns. Last fall, as a Gophers junior, he played in five games and caught one pass for 28 yards.
Wednesday's court complaint reveals that efforts to reunite the bag with its owner were, indeed, successful. On Jan. 14, the victim, identified by the initials H.B., "returned home and discovered that his bag had been returned with an apology note attached," the charges say. He reported then that most of the expensive items inside were returned.
Staff writer Michael Rand contributed to this report. Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041