Pi Lambda Phi pledges arrested for larceny

Five students were arrested in October for misdemeanor larceny and vandalism in connection with pledging activities to Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity — a fraternity currently under investigation by the University.

According to UNC Department of Public Safety records, the arrests are linked to a Sept. 27 incident in which $407 worth of paper towels and household goods were stolen from the Student Union. The incident report records $3,133.20 in damage to three paper towel dispensers and one toilet paper dispenser.

Alexander Mitchell, 21, was arrested on Oct. 18 and Taran Casper, 18, Matthew Newman, 18, Renwick Atkins, 19, and David DeGenova, 18, were arrested Oct. 21 — each on misdemeanor counts of larceny and vandalism to the Union.

“Although we (brought) it all back (and) apologized, I don’t think DPS could write it off as a ‘fraternity prank’ or other frats would not learn a lesson,” DeGenova said in a Facebook message Monday.

All of the men have upcoming appearances scheduled in Orange County District Court — Atkins and Mitchell for Dec. 19, Newman for Jan. 13, Casper for Feb. 3 and DeGenova for Feb. 11.

One of the arrested men, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he felt some blame lies with Pi Lambda Phi.

“They led us to believe that this was necessary for us to be initiated in the fraternity,” he said in an interview. “I personally see it as a hazing issue.”

The student said he decided not to continue pledging after being dissatisfied with the fraternity’s response to the situation.

“We just kind of feel like we were thrown under the bus,” he said.

DeGenova said the fraternity’s pledging process has been on hold since the arrests, which he said happened after a Pi Lambda Phi pledge told DPS about the incident.

“I am hoping to continue the initiation process depending on the penalties the frat incurs,” DeGenova said.

Pi Lambda Phi Chapter President Robert Harrison said in an interview that he would not comment on whether or not pledging had continued.

“Pi Lambda Phi has been and will continue to be fully cooperative with the ongoing University investigation into our organization,” he said. “We will continue to support our new members moving forward in this process. Our organization does not condone or instruct any of its members to commit theft, and it would be inappropriate for our organization to comment further on any aspect of the investigation.”

DPS Spokesman Randy Young said any potential hazing charges would be beyond DPS’s jurisdiction.

Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls said UNC is actively investigating Pi Lambda Phi as well as Chi Phi Fraternity for separate allegations.

Fields Pierce, the Interfraternity Council’s Greek Judicial Board incoming chairman, said the board will probably begin investigating both fraternities after winter break.

Managing Editor Cammie Bellamy contributed reporting.


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