February 13, 2008 / 1:11 AM / 10 years ago

Two Habs players arrested in Florida

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Two Montreal Canadiens hockey players were arrested at a Florida bar on Monday after one was accused of stealing a woman’s purse, police said.

<p>The police booking photos of Montreal Canadiens NHL hockey players Tom Kostopoulos (L) and Ryan O'Byrne are seen after the two were arrested at a Tampa bar on February 10, 2008, in this combination photo. O'Byrne, a rookie defenseman was charged with grand theft after being accused of stealing a woman's purse while Kostopoulos, a forward, was arrested for interfering with police during his teammate's arrest, police said. REUTERS/Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office/Handout</p>

Ryan O‘Byrne, a rookie defenseman with the National Hockey League team, was charged with grand theft, while Tom Kostopoulos, a forward, was arrested for interfering with police during his teammate’s arrest.

Police said a woman at the Whiskey Park bar noticed her purse was missing about 3 a.m. Security staffers at the bar said they saw O‘Byrne with the purse and the woman’s cell phone, according to a statement from Tampa police.

O‘Byrne, 23, told police the purse and phone belonged to his girlfriend but they determined there was no relationship between the player and the woman.

Police said $20 was missing from the purse.

After O‘Byrne was placed in a police car, several players crowded around it and were told by police to get away. Kostopoulos, 29, was arrested for obstructing an officer.

Both players were released on bail on Monday morning. The Canadiens are in Tampa to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Reporting by Robert Green, editing by Jim Loney and Eric Walsh

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