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Jason Gwaltney, ex-high school football star, arrested in home invasion

Jason Gwaltney, 25, of Brentwood, was one of

Jason Gwaltney, 25, of Brentwood, was one of five men arrested in connection with a home invasion at a Huntington home, police said. (Jan. 22, 2013) Credit: SCPD

Jason Gwaltney -- one of Long Island's most accomplished high school football players -- was among five men arrested on charges of burglarizing a Huntington home at gunpoint early Tuesday, police said.

Gwaltney and four other men, three of whom were armed with handguns, are charged with burglary and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with a break-in on Leigh Street through an unlocked door about 1:20 a.m., Suffolk County police said.

Police did not specify Gwaltney's alleged role in the burglary, but said the three armed men entered the home, demanded cash from the five residents and threatened them. Two other men acted as lookouts, waiting in a 2001 Lincoln.

The five then drove off and were caught a short distance away, on Deer Park Avenue in Dix Hills, police said, by Second Precinct Officers Stephen Maraglio, Thomas Minnion and Christopher Gahn.

Police said Gwaltney acknowledged to a patrol sergeant that he was the noted football star from North Babylon High School.

At North Babylon, from 2001 to 2004, Gwaltney rewrote all of Long Island's football record books with 135 touchdowns and an astonishing 7,800 yards rushing as the Bulldogs won two LIC championships.

Gwaltney, 25, of 46 St. Peters Dr., Brentwood, was Suffolk County's only two-time Hansen Award winner and a three-time All-Long Island selection.

At 6 foot, 225 pounds, he was highly recruited and went to West Virginia on a football scholarship in 2005. He had 186 yards rushing on 45 carries and three touchdowns in six games before a knee injury and academic issues ended his freshman season and caused him to leave school.

Terry Manning, Gwaltney's coach at North Babylon, said he last spoke to Gwaltney about a year ago.

"He's one of the hardest-working kids that I've ever been around," Manning said. "He just never ceased to amaze us on what he could do in the weight room and on the football field."

Police investigating the Huntington home invasion said they recovered two handguns and none of the home's occupants was injured, police said.

Each suspect is charged with first-degree burglary and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

Also charged Tuesday are: Jaquese Jones, 18, of 105-4 Howells Rd., Bay Shore; Nouvelle Lucas, 17, of 96 Arlington St., Wyandanch; Demetrius Edwards, 19, of 79 Levey Blvd., Wyandanch, and Tahjiea Carpenter, 17, of 970 Park Ave., Huntington.

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