Boxing champ surrenders to police in assault, theft investigation

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Omaha, Neb. (WOWT) - WBO junior welterweight boxing champion Terence “Bud” Crawford of Omaha surrendered to police Friday morning, cited for theft of services, criminal mischief, assault in the third degree and trespassing, all misdemeanors.

Crawford was arrested and released on his signature. Leaving OPD headquarters minutes later, Crawford was asked if he wanted to talk about the case. "Not at all."

The charges stem from a disturbance last week at Extreme Custom Fleet and Auto Spa near North 56th Street and Sorensen Parkway.

The police report says Crawford and three others came to the shop and took his car, damaging property in the process. The body shop's owner has accused Crawford and his friends of doing $5,000 worth of damage to his shop. Michael Nelson says that Crawford came in and demanded his car, but refused to pay for a paint job.

Nelson stated he was unaware that Crawford and his friends had entered his shop on April 14th. According to Nelson, Crawford and his friends took the car off a hydraulic lift themselves which damaged the lift. Nelson told responding officers he was with another customer when he heard noises from inside his shop. The shop owner alleges that he saw Crawford “hitting buttons and pulling levers on the hydraulic lift” until the car was lowered.

In the police report, Nelson also says Crawford pushed him when he tried to keep the group from leaving. When police arrived they noted that the hydraulic lift was stuck in the "on" position and was overheating. The officer then observed smoke coming from the pump itself.

WOWT spoke with Nelson on Friday, but he said he didn't have time to comment.

Crawford had initially faced a felony theft charge when some of the dollar amount estimated for criminal mischief went into the range of a felony. "It all depends on the evidence and obviously after that was reviewed from an evidentiary perspective, I think the officers realized this is probably going to be a misdemeanor level, it doesn't quite fit the value," said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. "And so that's why it went the way it did."

The amounts would have been felonies two years ago, but Kleine points out the laws changed last year and theft amount penalties were lowered. "People should be aware that that is a difference in the law now from the standpoint of prosecution."

"I have been in contact with the police department as well as the country attorney in terms of what charges would be brought against him and we all agree this does not rise to the level of a felony," said Crawford's lawyer, Steve Lefler. "I am hoping to eventually show that he didn't do anything that even merits a misdemeanor charge brought against him. This is a civil dispute between two people who are dissatisfied with each other, so that is what the civil courts are for."

Lefler was asked if Crawford had mishandled the situation. "I don't know the answer to that. My guess is that all of us could go back and handle things differently. Lefler said if the case is not resolved the way they want, then his client is prepared to go to trial.

Sources tell WOWT 6 News there is surveillance video of the incident and that video has been given to police.