University Police remind campus to take caution after theft incident

By Christopher Galvan

A theft occurred at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration on Dec. 12 between 9:30 and 9:50 a.m. The crime occurred in an office of Building 164, and those responsible are still at large pending an investigation by University Police.

A faculty member’s purse containing cash, credit cards, and other personal items was stolen. Although this is not the first instance of theft or burglary on campus, it is one of few instances of theft at the college’s new complex.

“An employee’s purse was stolen from her desk,” said University Police Sergeant Ken Kerkhof. “When [the victim] returned to their work desk after a meeting that took around 20 minutes, her purse was gone.”

University Police describe a potential suspect as a white male in his 30s, 5-foot-11, and bald or with a light hair color.

“There was an older white male seen that seemed out of place at the time,” said Kerkhof. “No one could recognize this person as being someone who normally does business in this building. Although that could be completely coincidental”we don’t have anything more to go on besides that.”

Kerkhof says that campus thefts are often crimes of opportunity and happen spur-of-the-moment.

“These are crimes that often occur when someone is walking by and may see property that has been left unattended,” Kerkhof said. “A vast majority of our theft reports are from when people just leave their property, purses, computers unattended for even five or 10 minutes. That’s all it takes for someone to take your things.”

Kerkhof recommends taking personal items with you even when leaving for brief periods of time.

“Take [property] with you,” said Kerkhof. “First and foremost, you should be securing your property before you leave. In this case, I’m not sure if the victim had locking drawers, although if you have to leave things behind, always try to secure it as best you can.”

Burglary, which is entering into a building with the intent to commit a crime, is the most common crime at CPP with 54 incidents reported between 2011 and 2013. Theft is the second, with eight reported during the same period.

Students in the college have taken a proactive approach and are increasing attention to surroundings and one another. The College of Business Administration is the second largest college on campus, and in addition to serving many students, faculty and staff, contains many computers and various technologies.

Second-year accounting student Rebecca Baldwin says that the new business buildings have a lot for a would-be thief to take.

“There are things worth stealing especially when packed with student, from our Macs to PCs, our smartphones and iPhones, cash, cards, books, and lonesome backpacks,” said Baldwin. “Almost nothing is not worth stealing.”

In order to reduce the risk of theft while on campus, Baldwin says that she is going to be more alert and aware of her surroundings throughout the day and night.

“I will definitely be using my phone less while walking or sitting around campus, I don’t want to seem like an easy target,” she said.

Baldwin lives on campus at the University Suites, and said that she now needs to be especially vigilant coming into winter quarter.

“Because I call CPP home, I need to think about my safety all of the time,” she said. “Anything can happen especially in a vulnerable environment. Always checking if my door is closed all the way and even closing windows when I leave are going to be new priorities.”

Although Baldwin praised the work of University Police in keeping campus safe, she would like to see a more active police presence day-to-day.

“I almost always have a feeling of fear while wandering Cal Poly alone, and that fear significantly increases at night,” she said.

“I would definitely feel better if I knew the police were actively walking around and into the bustle of campus.”

University Police asks students to take precautions with personal belongings and vehicles and to remain watchful. Suspicious activity or people can be reported to University Police at (909) 869-3070, and anonymous tips can be left at (909) 869-3399.

College of Business

Jairo Pineda / The Poly Post

College of Business

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