Don't pay the ransom, he escaped

July 24, 1992|By Michael Mayo | Michael Mayo,Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

MIAMI -- Talk about your bizarre days at training camp. Miami Dolphins nose tackle Alfred Oglesby disappeared, teammate Richmond Webb's car turned up abandoned in Liberty City and detectives turned defense coach Tom Olivadotti's office into a scene out of "Dragnet."

Oglesby returned safely to the team's St. Thomas University training site at 6 p.m., telling stories of being abducted at gunpoint and walking miles through the night.

Two hours later, after police questioned him, the truth came out.

Oglesby said he borrowed Webb's car Wednesday night, went to a strip bar to meet some teammates, and later went to a friend's apartment, where he had some drinks and fell asleep. When he awoke at 9 a.m. yesterday, the friend and Webb's car were gone.

Why Oglesby waited eight hours before contacting the team remains unclear, but his not-so-excellent adventure is likely to prompt a stiff fine and some serious fallout.

It could mean the end of coach Don Shula's day camp policy, where veterans have been allowed to live at home throughout the training period. Shula instituted the system last year and said it could be scrapped if it led to problems or if anyone violated team policy.

Oglesby violated an 11 p.m. curfew Wednesday, when he failed to return to Webb's Miami Lakes townhouse, where he is staying until he gets an apartment.

Oglesby, 25, a third-year nose tackle, also could be subject to random drug testing. The team took mandatory drug tests Tuesday morning; Oglesby said he did not use drugs Wednesday.

fTC "No drugs," Oglesby said. "Just a couple of beers and a few drinks."

Yesterday began with Oglesby missing from the team's 9:30 a.m. practice and tension mounted as details unfolded. A concerned Webb told team officials that Oglesby never returned home with his green 1990 BMW 535; police were notified.

Four detectives and several uniformed officers converged on the team's headquarters in the afternoon, setting up shop in Olivadotti's office. They revealed that Webb's car had been found, abandoned and undamaged, at 11 a.m. on NW 55th Street and NW 24th Avenue in Liberty City. The car was locked and its hazard lights were flashing. They termed it "suspicious" and said no one knew Oglesby's whereabouts.

Teammates were concerned.

"He's a very prompt person," tight end Ferrell Edmunds said. "He's always been responsible."

Oglesby ended the suspense at 5:30 p.m., when he phoned Shula and said he was safe. Oglesby called from the Le Club apartment complex at NW 183rd Street and NW 57th Avenue in Miami Lakes and the team sent media relations assistant Scott Stone to pick him up.

Oglesby returned to St. Thomas at 6 p.m. He told Shula and reporters separately that he was abducted by two men at gunpoint in a bar parking lot, forced to drive 9 miles and then was freed. He said he arrived at Le Club by walking and hitchhiking.

The day ended with a regretful Oglesby admitting he had lied to Shula, his family and reporters because he "panicked."

"I'm sorry about the first story," Oglesby said as dusk settled over the St. Thomas University parking lot. "I was a little afraid about dealing with Coach Shula and I was caught in a bad situation. I just really panicked. I was real immature and I was afraid. I didn't want to lose my job on the team. But it's over. I'm very embarrassed."

After being questioned by police for about 90 minutes in the team's locker room, Oglesby called Shula to say the earlier story was false.

"He was upset," Oglesby said.

"The case is resolved," said Det. Don Blocker of Metro-Dade Police. "He's safe and he's got some explaining to do to the Miami Dolphins. I doubt that charges will be filed against anybody involved."

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