John Wiechman, a star running back at Bonny Eagle High School who hoped to beat the odds and go pro, is in a Connecticut jail charged with stealing from lockers at health clubs where he was a member.

Wiechman, 23, of Buxton won the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy as Maine’s best senior football player in 2006 — despite concerns about off-field character issues — and went on to be a successful running back at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.

In a December interview with The Portland Press Herald, Wiechman said he hoped to continue playing football professionally, in the Canadian Football League, United Football League or Arena league if he couldn’t make it in the NFL.

But that was before he was arrested on charges of breaking into health club members’ lockers and cars, and stealing thousands of dollars in electronics, cash, jewelry and credit cards.

Wiechman was arrested Wednesday on 11 warrants, according to police in Hamden, where the gyms are located. An investigation into multiple thefts between April and July culminated with a search of his New Haven apartment, which turned up a trove of stolen items, according to the New Haven Register.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Wiechman had stolen car keys from lockers, ransacked the owners’ cars, then returned the keys. Wiechman’s lawyer told the Register that Wiechman had substance abuse issues and would be seeking help for them.

Wiechman was already facing charges of using other people’s credit cards to put hundreds of dollars on his school account, referred to as “Hoot Loot,” and then using that money to buy gift cards at a local CVS.

Wiechman was suspended from school after being arrested in the spring, but had planned to return in the fall, his lawyer told the Register. He had planned on graduating with a degree in computer science and marketing and had been named to the conference honor roll.

The charges from Wednesday include 10 counts of theft of a credit card, 12 counts of larceny, five counts of identity theft and five counts of illegal use of a credit card.

Wiechman’s most productive year in college football was 2008 when he gained 1,047 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and was named the Northeast 10 Conference offensive player of the year.

The following year he became a blocking back and then split time with another runner his senior year, picking up 778 yards in a 6-4 campaign that just missed the Division II playoffs.

The Consensus Draft Services website this spring described Wiechman as: “a football player, pure and simple . . . Spins off tacklers, pinballs (defensive backs and even linebackers). Probably no one will draft him (but) he will be a tough cut for the NFL.”

Wiechman was being held on $55,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 1.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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