This article has been updated to include the identity of the former officer as well as the specific charge brought against him.
The Middletown Police Department arrested a former Public Safety officer Monday, Jan. 28, for theft, according to an all-campus email. An internal investigation conducted last month by the Office of Public Safety concluded that the officer had stolen items from several campus locations. The employee, who was not identified in the email, was fired by Public Safety last month, and the case was turned over to the Middletown Police.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Middletown Police Department confirmed that Rogelio Figueroa of Newtown, whose employment as a Public Safety officer was recently terminated, was charged with third-degree larceny on Monday morning. Larceny in the third degree is a class D felony.
“Any abuse of trust at Wesleyan is troubling for our community, but this matter is now appropriately in the hands of Connecticut’s judicial system,” wrote Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts in the email.
Figueroa appeared at the Middletown Superior Court on Monday, Feb. 4. Figueroa posted a cash bond of $10,000 and was released from custody. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 1.
According to Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer, an inside source alleged that the officer had stolen items, including laptops, from several faculty offices over an extended period of time. Meyer said that within 48 hours of hearing these allegations, he had launched an investigation and fired the former officer, who was found in possession of stolen goods, from his position at the University. The Middletown Police Department was promptly contacted.
“[The case] is a very tragic thing for our department,” Meyer said. “We’re working diligently with the police department.”
Meyer explained that although the case is still under investigation, at this point it is unclear whether any goods were stolen from students.
“I take this very, very, very seriously,” Meyer said. “There’s nothing hidden about this. He’s going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Meyer and the Office of Public Safety are still determining whether or not all stolen property has been recovered. Meyer stated that according to the information he has received, the officer was acting alone.
“This was the most unsettling thing that’s ever happened in my 33 years here,” Meyer said.
According to President Michael Roth, the University is in the midst of reviewing PSafe officers and practices in response to the concerns raised at the Diversity University forum in November. He emphasized that these efforts began before the arrest of the former PSafe officer in January.
“I do think that what was clear there [at the forum] is that we need to do a better job in integrating the safety and security concerns of the campus with student life,” Roth said. “And so we have our student, staff, and, I think, faculty committee looking at our Public Safety function now, and we will bring in outside experts to do an evaluation of Public Safety. We had planned to do that before this latest arrest.”
In addition, Roth said that the University, along with PSafe, is working to best meet the demands of the students.
“I should emphasize that the person was arrested because Public Safety found out,” he said. “But, nonetheless, we want to make sure that we’re doing things as well as we can and to get rid of some of these practices that were revealed [at the forum] as being anathemas to students.”
Additional reporting by Lily Baggott and Christina Norris, News Editors, and Claire Bradach and Olivia Horton, Editors-in-Chief