The downward spiral that’s been Steve Francis’ post-playing career just took another spin around the drain, as the three-time NBA All-Star has turned himself in to Florida authorities on burglary charges.
In a strange story that seems plucked from a year-end “Dumbest Criminals of 2016” list, the victim of the alleged burglary told ABC13 that Francis asked a bartender to help him find his keys, only to ransack the woman’s unlocked car for $7,000 in material belongings while the witness stood watch.
“The bartender went and got a flashlight and went outside and held the flashlight while Steve Francis moved my seats back and forth, stripped the inside of my car of everything, and broke into my lock box,” she told the television news station. “He got a diamond ring, and he got my father’s wedding band, he got my wallet, my cash, he stole my makeup bag.
“I was saddened to hear that this guy has fallen to this extent. If he needs help and is willing, I think that would be great. I would like restitution for the things he’s stolen from me.”
Two days after the alleged burglary in June, Francis showed up to the Bradenton Police Department with a plastic bag containing some of the woman’s belongings and told authorities, “I just robbed somebody, take me to jail, I’m turning myself in,” but since no charges had been filed, he was let go, according to ABC13. (That seems like a strange way for police to handle a confession, but OK.)
Then, Francis, 39, was arrested in Houston late last month for allegedly driving while intoxicated and threatening police during the traffic stop. Upon learning of the former Rockets player’s DWI arrest on Nov. 20, the Manatee (Fla.) County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for Francis’ arrest on the burglary charges, according to reports. He turned himself just before a Dec. 13 deadline, police records show.
The third-degree felony burglary charge could result in up to five years in prison. Francis was released on $5,500 bail for the DWI arrest in November and $1,500 bail for the burglary arrest on Monday.
Francis made headlines in 2015 for having his chain stolen during a fight at a Houston rap concert. He was in no position financially to be wearing another $1 million necklace at the time of his DWI arrest.
Francis earned $103.5 million over eight NBA seasons, capturing 2000 Rookie of the Year honors and making three straight All-Star Game appearances from 2002-04 during his first five seasons with the Rockets. He was also arrested on DWI charges in 2001. His career rapidly declined following a 2004 trade to the Orlando Magic, and by age 33 in 2010 he was playing in China , where in a four-game span he checked into a game still wearing an ice pack on his ankle, flipped off a ref and was promptly cut.
Francis didn’t give up on an NBA return until All-Star Weekend this past February, telling SLAM around the time of the burglary four months later, “Looking at the people out there playing, I’m like, ‘Damn.’ If I just really, really focused one year, one time for six months … I can probably still do it, but I won’t.”
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In that same interview, the man once known as Stevie Franchise said of his partying ways, “Man, look, I’m not no Johnny Manziel, that’s who the [expletive] y’all need to talk to. Ain’t none of that. So talk to Johnny Manziel about that. I ain’t no [expletive] getting in no fights or beating anyone up. But don’t get it twisted. If I want to get 10 boats, I’ma get 10 boats. I’m going to be Steve. I don’t care what nobody say.”
Now, six months later, he has been arrested on DWI and burglary charges inside of a month. As if this spiral of sadness could get any worse, Francis, a father of two children, reached a divorce settlement last week. His wife of 10 years alleged in divorce documents that her husband has “severe substance issues” and has been in and out of rehab, according to TMZ Sports. Francis has denied those claims.
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