Series of thefts at the Recreation Center alert campus


Aubrey Zych, Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, Feb. 21, the Le Moyne security office alerted the campus community that several thefts had taken place at the Recreation Center, and students should take precaution when leaving their belongings unattended. The most recent reported theft, taking place on Thursday, Feb. 20, was the fourth reported incident of stolen property at the Rec Center since students returned to school this semester.

The thefts have all been of student property, and have included two smartphones and a Northface jacket. All of the incidents have been in the Rec Center, namely the basketball courts.

According to Mark Petterelli, associate director of security, a theft on campus every now and then is not unusual; but when the thefts all begin to occur in the same place, students should pay special attention to where they leave their belongings.

“A theft here and there happen on every college campus, but these [recent thefts] are concentrated, which can draw some concern,” he explained.

According to Petterelli, concentrated thefts alarm the Security Office because it often means the areas are targeted, and done by the same person or group of people.

However, these thefts are also the easiest to prevent, Petterelli said.

“They’re crimes of opportunity,” he said. “If there’s no bag or iPhone or jacket there, there’s nothing to steal. I know you guys [students] have to have your phones on you at all time, but consider just leaving it up in your room or in your car for the hour that you’re down there.”

Petterelli also suggested that if you do leave your belongings in your car, hide them before you arrive at the Rec Center.

“Hide your stuff before you leave,” he said. “If you get out of your car and someone sees you open up your trunk and put your laptop in there, well that’s not doing anything more than leaving it on your front seat.”

More importantly, students should also keep an eye out for non-students at the Rec Center, Peterelli said.

“There are a lot of non-students coming in and out of the Rec Center who shouldn’t be,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to call us [security] if you have a bad feeling about someone.”

According to David Willard, recreation, fitness and wellness coordinator, Rec Center staff checks the ID of every student entering the front door of the building, but non-students can still slip in using backdoors or coming in through the Athletic Center entrance.

Since the recent thefts, the Rec Center has put a stronger push to check the ID of every student coming in, even those who are regulars and staff may recognize, Kathleen Towner, senior clerical assistant at the Rec Center said.

Students who regularly visit the Rec Center expressed their concern that they no longer feel safe in the one place they go to have fun.

“I’m scared. I bring a lot of valuables with me to the gym,” Ron Vaccaro, a sophomore, said. Vaccaro said he would feel better about leaving his things in the gym if there were more cameras in the area.

“I’m being a little bit more careful now,” junior Cody Crounse added about bringing his belongings to the gym with him. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s also the current reality.”

With the stronger push towards checking IDs, keeping valuables locked up and students speaking up when they see something suspicious, campus security is hopeful the thefts will cease as the semester continues.


Matthew Clark ’15 contributed to this report.