On April 25, Director of Public Safety Scott Rohde sent a campus-wide email to update the community on a series of thefts that were issued on April 13.
“Public Safety has been working with the Middletown Police and identified a suspect last week,” Rohde wrote. “The suspect is a non-student resident of Middletown.”
Rohde explained that a staff member spotted the individual at Exley Science Center on April 20 at 10:30 a.m. He was approaching an area in which prior thefts had occurred, and, upon making contact with Public Safety officers, he fled on foot. Ultimately, this individual was found and arrested by the Middletown Police Department on Pearl Street. The individual was wearing the same clothing that he had been wearing during a prior incident.
He was arrested for having stolen property from the University. The suspect is linked to prior criminal activities on campus.
The investigation is currently still active as it involves resources outside of the University campus.
“I can say that some of the prior thefts were captured on video which helped identify the suspect,” Rohde wrote in an email to The Argus. “This information was shared with the police.”
Rohde wrote in his email that students who reported stolen property are being contacted by Public Safety for a follow-up. As of now, one student has reached out to alert Public Safety about a previously unreported theft.
“As far a theft goes it is a crime of opportunity,” Rohde wrote. “Preventing it mainly involves students keeping close control of their property and reporting any suspicious persons or activity. Education through various media is something we do and will continue.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley commented on the situation.
“I’m obviously glad that students’ property was recovered,” he wrote in an email to The Argus. “That said, I can’t help but wonder about the possible impact to some students’ relationships and openness with local residents. Many of us aspire to create a welcoming and inclusive community, and incidents such as this one are tough for all sorts of reasons.”