College hockey player Max Gardiner was arrested in Scottsdale early Thursday morning after a woman found him drunk in her backyard.
Gardiner, 23, a Penn State player who was also a draft pick of the NHL's St. Louis Blues, was booked for alleged trespassing and released a few hours later by Scottsdale police. His experience provides a good lesson for partiers about not getting too wasted — and he's probably lucky he wasn't injured during the incident.
Officer Kevin Watts, Scottsdale police spokesman, tells New Times that a Scottsdale homeowner near 87th Street and Indian School Road called the cops at about 5:30 a.m. on Thursday to report an apparently drunken trespasser in her backyard. She had just let her dogs into the yard and was concerned about their barking. When she went to the back door to check on them, she saw a man "standing at the threshold of the door," Watts says. "She demanded to know what he was doing and asked him to leave."
The man later identified as Gardiner apologized and walked out of the yard. He walked down the residential street and was spotted by Pete Kosednar, publisher and author of the scottsdalearizonanews.com blog, who shot some video of the hockey player asking to use a phone. Kosednar declines Gardiner's offer of five bucks to use a cell phone, telling him to catch a cab on Indian School Road.
Meanwhile, Scottsdale police had mounted a small manhunt for the alleged backyard trespasser. They found him a few minutes' walk from the woman's home and took him into custody.
At the police station, Gardiner "advised that he had been out drinking with friends and had become separated," Watts says. "He had no idea how he got into the victim’s back yard and did not remember being there."
Gardiner's a senior at Penn State who hails from Minnesota. His brother, Jake, is a professional hockey player in Canada.
UPDATE June 2: Penn State's Daily Collegian student newspaper reported Gardiner's arrest today, calling him a former player. It looks to us that his college-hockey bio indicates he saw time in 33 games for the 2014-15 season — but we'll have to defer to the reporters on the ground over there.
The Collegian obtained a police report we hadn't yet seen — it doesn't add much to this story, except that Gardiner reportedly told police he was trying to get into the home to a use a phone because he'd lost his. He told police he'd been drinking "way too much" with friends and didn't remember much about the alleged trespassing incident.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.