By Juana Lopez
On Nov. 11, there was an unusual theft case at Cal Poly Pomona: side mirrors stolen from five different cars.
The thefts happened in the section of Parking Lot F reserved for student residents. First-year engineering student Hien Phan, one of the victims, said that he did not find out about the incident until Wednesday.
“When I found out, I yelled a lot,” said Phan. “The whole mirror housing part was missing.”
University Police Lieutenant Ken Kerkhof said that the culprit or culprits may have used a screwdriver to remove the mirrors, because they “are simple to take off.”
Kerkhof said that in his 11 years as a police officer at CPP, he has never seen anything like this. He phrased it as being an “odd” and “uncommon” occurrence.
Kerkhof said that the cars that were involved were a Nissan, BMW and an Infiniti, in addition to two university-owned carts. Phan owns the Infiniti.
Both Phan and Kerkhof said that they have heard rumors of the theft incidents being a joke conducted by fraternities for hazing purposes, but they don’t have any evidence that would claim otherwise.
“If word gets around, we would get into it,” said Kerkhof in regard to what University Police would do if the rumor was true.
“When I heard there was other cars involved, then I knew that it wasn’t just me [and] that I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Phan.
Phan met another one of the victims, first-year industrial engineering student Brandon Reformado, after he posted a photo on Facebook about the incident. Reformado was also in disbelief of what happened and had heard the same rumor.
Phan believes that the campus should take more action in regards to having security on campus.
“They need to increase the security in the parking lot, at least surveillance cameras,” said Phan. “If they took my mirror, I don’t want them taking anything else.”
Diana Pedroza, a third-year dietetics student who works for the Bronco Recreational and Intramural Complex, said that “it’s sad people are that ridiculous” to be stealing from other people.
Pedroza agreed with Phan on increasing school security.
“I think that that would be a good investment an to have more securities,” said Pedroza. “I honestly don’t feel safe walking to my car, especially walking to those dark parking lots. It’s scary.”
Kerkhof said that it would be difficult for the school to come up with funds to install cameras on campus.
“I’m sure everyone would like that, but there is a cost associated with having cameras everywhere,” said Kerkhof.
Since side mirrors are an odd thing to steal, the cost of repair “can be expensive for the owner to replace,” according to Kerkhof.
However, he said that the victims can use that to their advantage: in the past, a victim found success by looking for a stolen object on craigslist. University Police was able to arrest the culprit.
Kerkhof suggested that since the victims are the ones that know exactly what the item looks like, that they should search for it online because that’s an “avenue to look into.”
“We’re hoping to get info from neighboring departments to see what they found on their end to educate ourselves, to see what these people are stealing and what they’re doing with these items,” said Kerkhof.
Until any further notice, Kerkhof said that the case is put to rest because there is no other evidence for them to solve this mirror mystery.
“We [hadn’t] had enough experience to know what the next steps to take are,” said Kerkhof.
Chris Maciosek / The Poly Post
Car Mirror Thefts
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