Highland Community College basketball coach accused in car theft ring

HCCThe women’s basketball coach at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas has been arraigned in a multi-state car theft conspiracy.

William J. Smith, 48, of Highland, Kan., appeared Tuesday in federal court in St. Louis. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

Highland is about 30 miles northwest of St. Joseph, Mo.

Smith is among 21 people charged in the auto theft conspiracy. The U.S. attorney’s office said in a release that the defendants stole luxury vehicles in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and used different schemes to obtain insurance proceeds by staging accidents and filing false theft reports.

Smith resigned as women’s basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University in December 2006. Highland Community College officials say Smith isn’t suspended while they await the outcome of the legal process.

— Associated Press —