Over $5,000 stolen from faculty offices

Rhonda Wheeler, News Editor

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a theft on campus in which over $5,000 was stolen from a faculty office.

Someone stole credit cards in a faculty member’s office in the Orr Center Nov. 5 according to an incident report from the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. There were no weapons used. 

Director of Public Safety Steve Bequette said the faculty member’s office was unlocked and the thief was able to go in and take the credit cards and use them at local retail establishments.

The thief stole about a reported $5,800 in fraudulent credit card activities. 

The report said that the last known security of the cards was Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m., and the faculty member saw the cards had been stolen at 3:00 p.m. the same day.

A similar theft occurred on campus that day in which another faculty member’s credit cards were stolen and fraudulently used according to Public Safety’s crime log. 

Public Safety is working with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office on this case. The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of working with the local retail establishments on pulling video footage in an attempt to identify any suspects.

Bequette said that when a theft does occur on campus, Public Safety documents it and works with the victims and the campus community as a whole to prevent it from happening again.

Bequette also said that there have been 20 reported cases of theft since the beginning of the year.

He said that when there is a theft, there is a motive and an opportunity. The motive is monetary gain and the opportunity is the thief had the chance to do it.

Bequette said he encourages students to not give thieves the opportunity to steal. He suggests if you’re a housing student to make sure your doors are locked and if you’re a commuter or have a vehicle on campus, to make sure it’s locked as well.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked the parking lots and see the purse sitting in the front seat and the doors are unlocked,” Bequette said.

Other tips include not leaving valuable merchandise in the apartments or vehicles on campus when going home on the weekends or the upcoming holidays.

Lock valuables in the trunk while you’re on campus so they’re not visible or take them home with you. This includes things like laptops, computers and flash drives.

Bequette also mentioned that in the past, backpacks and books would be stolen.

“People would steal the books and either take them down the road to sell them or here to try at the bookstore,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of those.”

Faculty and staff members are also encouraged to make sure office doors are locked, and if they need to be open, to make sure all valuables are hidden away.

“I strongly urge everyone to report crimes that occur here on campus and not adapt the mentality, ‘well there’s nothing they can do about it,’” Bequette said.

This story is still developing. This was last updated 11/12/19 at 3:52 p.m.