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Campus Theft Incidents on Rise

Incidents of theft increased fall semester 2015 at WVU Parkersburg, according to campus police officer Al Collins. Most of the items swiped were small enough to fit into a backpack or even a pocket.

Three different areas of the college fell victim to theft, WPKM the college radio station, the nursing lab and the theater.

“As of right now, none of the cases, the radio station, the nursing lab and the theater, none of those three cases have been closed or solved,” Collins said.

Collins explained that most of the items were smaller and able to fit in a backpack. Some items taken were a wireless mouse, an external hard drive and a projector.

“Everyone in the college has an external hard drive or thumb drive, it’s hard to prove they belong to the college,” Collins said.

The bigger, more expensive items-speakers and a sound board, were taken from the theater sometime after the fire.

Collins said campus security is looking into all avenues and everyone; students, employees and even the contractors who were working on campus are included. After the fire in the theater, contractors were coming and going on a regular basis. Collins added that most of them have been ruled out. They are looking into who had access to what areas.

Even though cameras are in place and new locks have been installed, they still cannot catch the suspect(s).

“A number of investigative tools are being used including looking at pawn shops, watching Craig’s List and other social media sites,” Collins said.

Collins added that campus security is doing whatever they can to recover the missing items and bring the culprit(s) to justice.

“If we can find out who is doing this we will do whatever we can to bring them to justice, if caught they will be arrested and prosecuted,” Collins said.

As thefts continue to happen,  Collins, as well as the rest of the security staff, want to remind students not to leave items unattended.

“Don’t lay your books down on a table in the cafeteria thinking I’m going to leave my $300 worth of books here to save my seat and walk away. Even if I’m sitting at the next table, somebody else walks over and slips the books into their backpack and walks away. That looks perfectly normal to me,” Collins said.

If one person is connected to all three crimes, it becomes very serious because then it turns into a felony larceny charge. If multiple people are involved, it could be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the items taken. In the state of West Virginia, any theft valuing $1000 or more is a felony, anything under is a misdemeanor but still a very serious charge. Theft can ruin the chance of graduating and a chance at a promising career.

The security staff would like all students to be aware of their surroundings and be vigilant in reporting any suspicious activity.

“If you see something, say something. If you see something that doesn’t look right say something,” Collins said.

Any information on this, or any other crime, can be reported to any campus security staff member. Students can visit the office by the student lounge, or call campus security at 304-424-8235 or 304-834-7383. Students can also report crimes anonymously by slipping a note to campus security or contacting the Threat Assessment Team. They can be found through the WVU Parkersburg home page and clicking on campus security. Nothing is too small to report, as Collins said, “If you see something, say something.”

by Amber Deeter

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