A police report reveals new details about the two Texas Tech football players released on bail from jail Saturday afternoon after being charged with unauthorized use of a debit card in a Depot Entertainment District bar.
Jace Amaro and Kenny Williams were released from the Lubbock County Criminal Detention Center in lieu of $3,000 and $3,300 bail, respectively, after being arrested early Friday on state jail felony charges of unauthorized use of a credit/debit card, according to the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.
A police report states Amaro and Williams, both 19-year-old sophomores, are accused of making a purchase on a Bank of America debit card without having the “effective consent of the card holders” early Friday at the Firehouse Grill and Bar, 1719 Buddy Holly Ave. The report states Amaro was in possession of and used an altered driver's license.
Both Amaro and Williams were charged with two state jail felony counts, while Amaro was also charged with a misdemeanor count of misrepresentation of age.
The report lists a 22-year-old man as a victim in the case.
A state jail felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Late Friday, the bar’s owner told The Avalanche-Journal Amaro and Williams used a card without their name on it to buy more than $100 in drinks, offered bartenders a “big tip” to use the card and tried to use their status as Red Raider football players to avoid arrest.
Chris Bourne said the pair successfully paid for two rounds of drinks, one about $65 and the other about $40, on the card before employees became suspicious of their unusually large tips from the players as the 2 a.m. bar-closing time approached.
Bourne said Amaro and Williams included a $20 gratuity with each transaction, raising a red flag for the bartenders. Many college students leave about a $2 tip for a transaction.
“They were great tippers, considering they weren’t using their own money,” Bourne said, adding his employees did not make a transaction for the final $20 tip and charge.
Bartenders soon discovered the name on the card did not match Amaro’s or Williams’ IDs.
Bourne said Amaro and Williams were wearing Tech Under Armour football attire and, as bar employees called police, the players repeatedly reminded bar staff they were Tech football players.
“They were like, ‘We play football; we play football; we play football,’ ” Bourne said, repeating what he heard from his employees.
Bourne said he believes Amaro and Williams shared the drinks with friends. He said several people in their group were dressed in Tech Under Armour gear.
A manager at the bar refused to comment about the incident.
Of Amaro’s and Williams’s underage status, Bourne said Amaro’s ID showed he was 21 years old. He said 19-year-old Williams could have been admitted to the bar, as his bar’s policy allows entry to minors after marking an “X” on their hand to indicate they can’t drink alcohol.
Bourne admitted it was possible someone could have slipped Williams a drink once in the bar, though the X aims to prevent that from happening.
“We do our best to try to keep any minors from being served alcohol,” he said. “We don’t have a reputation of being a place that serves minors."
Bourne said he had not heard from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission since the incident. The TABC in Lubbock had not returned an Avalanche-Journal phone call by late Saturday.
Amaro, a sophomore tight end, and Williams, a sophomore running back, were heavily recruited players on the Tech football team.
Bourne said he has heard negative feedback from the community, mostly online comment posts, criticizing Firehouse for jeopardizing Tech’s team by calling police on the players instead of notifying Tech officials.
“Nobody knew who they were when it happened,” he said. “Nobody went out and spitefully tried to get them in trouble. But there’s a point when you draw the line.”
Blayne Beal, Tech’s associate athletics director, said the university would not comment on the matter other than through a written statement he emailed to The Avalanche-Journal on Friday.
“Texas Tech will allow the Lubbock Police Department to conduct its investigation into the matter involving two football student-athletes,” he said in the statement. “Once that investigation has been completed and more facts are known, the university and head coach Tommy Tuberville will take appropriate disciplinary action if necessary.”
A Lubbock police spokesman did not return calls for comment about the arrests by Saturday evening. An officer at the police sergeant’s desk declined to release more than a case number.
Amaro and Williams were two of Tech’s top signees in the 2011 class and were members of The Avalanche-Journal Fabulous 44 list of the state’s top recruits. Amaro debuted last season with seven receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and Williams carried 43 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Both players have worked with the first team during spring football practice. Williams has been getting a lot of carries with the Red Raiders’ top two returning rushers, Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington, sidelined by off-season knee surgeries.
The Red Raiders had the 10th of their allotted 15 spring practices Wednesday and then adjourned for spring break.
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