In recent weeks, the number of thefts in the Gustavus community have risen drastically, both on and off campus.
On-campus thefts, particularly in Lund Center, have prompted e-mails to students and warnings posted throughout Lund.
“Like most others in my class, I kept my backpack and jacket on hooks outside of the locker room each day. But one day I looked for my phone after class and it wasn’t there. About four or five other classmates had their iPhones stolen and one girl had her wallet stolen as well,” Sophomore Penny Poeschl said.
The group of students then proceeded to report the thefts to campus safety and the St. Peter Police Department.
Students aren’t only being targeted by thieves during classes.
“A friend of mine got his iPhone stolen from outside the weight room that same morning, so be careful out there,” Poeschl said.
“These were crimes of opportunity and the best way to prevent a crime like this is to keep it [valuable electronics] with you,” Director of Campus Safety Raymond Thrower said.
Through cooperation between the St. Peter Police Department and Campus Safety the individuals responsible for the thefts in Lund were identified and an arrest warrant was issued and served. The cameras placed throughout Lund played a key role in identification process.
“It’s because of the cameras in Lund that we caught the culprits,” Thrower said.
There have been several break-ins and thefts off-campus as well, one of them which targeted Gustavus students.
“I woke up at 6:30 p.m. to go downstairs and make dinner. I began to hear noises in another room, but figured it was a roommate. I turned around and saw the perp in my family room. I asked him what he was doing there. His answer was that he lived there. He said it was his girl’s place. I grabbed what I could visably see him stealing. As I started to dial the cops, he took off. The police officer showed up five minutes later to search the house and ask questions. The officer returned the next day to say they had someone in custody and that he had confessed,” Senior Erik Velgersdyk said.
Thrower has some advice for students to help avoid future thefts.
“Always lock your door, and remember the importance of keeping the make, model, and serial number of products purchased,” Thrower said.
Having the make, model and serial number of a stolen item makes it significantly easier to track the stolen item through an online data-base and get it back to the original owner. Thrower also encourages students to utilize a full list of crime prevention tips available on the Campus Safety Website.