By David Pendleton, September 5, 2023
Two suspects unaffiliated with Cal Poly Pomona were arrested July 11 after multiple phone calls were made to campus police about a burglary in Building 54 and squatting in Building 63.
According to the university police department, a suspect snuck into Building 54 and stole personal items after noticing a resident leaving their dorm. Lieutenant Robert Brockenbrough believes the suspect was able to gain access to the dorm through an open side window.
The campus was put on alert when the UPD sent out a Timely Warning Crime Bulletin to all students and faculty. The email detailed the incident, showing an image of the suspect captured on a residential camera exiting Building 54.
Later that afternoon, conference service aides, who help prepare residential buildings for events, notified campus police when they heard suspicious activity from a supposedly vacated dorm in Building 63. The suspect had wedged the door in with a chair, keeping the aids from being able to enter the dorm with their master keycard.
Trying to escape through the outdoor patio, campus police responded quickly to the call, arresting the burglar suspect from Building 54 who was hiding out in a vacated dorm at Building 63.
Based on previous incidents that summer, conference service aide, Christian Solis Alvarado, believes the suspect had been staying in Building 63 for a few days.
Simultaneously, as they were arresting the burglar from Building 54, Alvarado witnessed a man in his early 30s also being arrested after getting caught stealing a bike from outside one of the residential buildings. This forced campus police to split up and arrest both individuals. It is unknown if both suspects were working together.
Prior to the residential break-in, the UPD stated there was a rise in similar crimes during after-hours at University Plaza, Building 26. Residential rooms with unlocked windows and sliding glass doors became hideouts for squatting attempts in both Buildings 62 and 63 over the summer, making the jobs of conference service aides frightening.
“I was shocked because last year there wasn’t anything like this,” said conference service aide Triniti Nguyen. “It made me more nervous because I live on campus basically year-round, so the idea of people easily breaking in freaks me out.”
During the summer campus was less populated, allowing more suspicious activity to go unnoticed.
“Over the summer, no one was here,” said Brockenbrough. “They had the lay of the land, but now there are a lot of students here.”
The city of Pomona itself has faced higher crime rates for years compared to other cities across the United States. The Neighborhood Scout, which collects and analyzes crime statistics from the FBI, surveyed Pomona’s most recent data in 2021.
The Neighborhood Scout reported the city of Pomona to have one of the highest crime rates in America. More than 94% of communities within California have a lower crime rate than Pomona, leaving a person’s chance of becoming a victim of violent or property crime to be one in 25.
Although the CPP campus is protected by its own police department, access to the campus grounds is accessible to outsiders. Brockenbrough stated there has been an increase in patrols on campus since the incident and is asking students to stay vigilant for suspicious activity.
“Just make sure if you go out, you lock your windows and your doors,” said Brockenbrough. “I understand we’re in a very safe area, but there’s always someone around just waiting for an opportunity to commit a crime. It’s just a crime of opportunity.”
The UPD encourages all students in an event of an emergency or to report suspicious activity, first get to a safe place. Contact UPD by calling 909-869-3070, using the Code Blue emergency phones on campus or by calling 9-1-1. If you haven’t already done so, please save UPD’s direct line in your cell phone.
Use Cal Poly Pomona’s Safety Escort Service, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends, holidays and breaks. Call 909-869-3070 to arrange for an escort. Escorts will be provided to and from campus buildings, campus parking lots, immediate bus stops and areas immediately adjacent to campus property.
Feature image courtesy of University Police Department
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