NFL

Bills' Whitner has house broken into during game

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The Canadian Press
9/21/2009 2:00:31 PM
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Police are investigating a theft from the home of Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner, who discovered about US$400,000 worth of jewelry missing following Sunday's win against Tampa Bay.

"It's mind-boggling," said the player's spokeswoman Patrice Horton, who described Whitner as upset and hurt. "He's safe, but he's on high alert. He doesn't know who did this."

Hamburg Detective Lt. Kevin Trask released few details because of the ongoing investigation. He would not say whether there was evidence of a forced entry or when the theft might have happened.

The theft was reported at about 10 p.m., a little over two hours after the Bills won their home-opener, 33-20.

"At this point we're calling it a larceny," he said. "We can't even call it a burglary because we don't know the specifics. This might be a person who was invited into the home."

He did not identify Whitner as the victim, confirming only that the theft was at the home of a Bills player.

After team meetings Monday, Whitner described the theft as "very disappointing," and said police dusted for fingerprints at his home. He added no one was hurt.

The theft was reported a week after Whitner's teammate Leodis McKelvin's front lawn in the same suburb was vandalized by two teenagers following Buffalo's season-opening loss to New England. Bills players expressed concerns about their privacy and safety after that incident, in which a message and obscenity were spray-painted in front of McKelvin's home.

McKelvin declined to press charges after two 16-year-old boys admitted responsibility.

Trask said the theft and what happened at McKelvin's home were unrelated.

"I think we'll probably find out these circumstances couldn't be any more different," he said.

Whitner also believed the theft was separate from what happened to McKelvin and unlikely to involve Bills fans. Whitner was only asked four questions about the theft before a Bills official requested reporters to move on to football-related topics.

Horton said Whitner also is not interested in pressing charges, but does want his jewelry back. She said nothing else appeared to be missing.

"He just wants to play," Horton said of Whitner, who played a key role in beating Tampa Bay by returning an interception 76 yards for a touchdown and adding a key fourth-down tackle.

"He's not going to let this disturb him. He's very upset. He loves this city," Horton said.

Whitner was selected by the Bills with the eighth overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft out of Ohio State.

Bills NFL Players' Association representative, safety George Wilson, said he and teammates are concerned after two Buffalo players have been the victims of crime over the span of a week.

"It makes guys wonder, who's next? Are we being targeted here? You just never know," Wilson said. "I think it's definitely something we have to pay more attention to and try to do everything within our power as individuals to keep a watchful eye."

Wilson said the crimes are not a reflection of Buffalo.

"It's regardless of where you're at," Wilson said. "Crime happens whether you're in a big city or whether in a rural community like Hamburg. It could happen to anybody. ... It's very unfortunate."

Donte Whitner (Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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