By Gabe Brison-Trezise
Despite a new surveillance system, a K-Card scanner at the entrance to the locker room complex and a desk attendant charged with checking the IDs of all entrants, the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) is still susceptible to thefts.
Roughly two weeks ago, most likely on Oct. 23, money was stolen from several wallets in locker rooms, according to Director of the KAC and Assistant Athletic Director Justin Newell.
“We had an incident of several wallets being ransacked and money taken out,” Newell said. “We reviewed the video and found an individual walking around the KAC who had followed in a student from behind without swiping their ID. They found a way in without going through our security, and then, you can see him on video going to multiple locker rooms and searching it out.
“It’s really crimes of opportunity. My analogy is that if we’re a feeding den, then the wolves are going to come to feed. Ultimately, if we take care of our stuff and we don’t provide them food, then they’re not going to come here to eat. So leaving laptops, leaving iPhones out, leaving wallets out makes it really easy,” Newell said.
Both Newell and Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper indicated the suspect in the thefts is a community member who has stolen items from Kenyon before and has a criminal record. Hooper said the suspect was most recently arrested in August for theft at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
“[He] has been arrested for those things before on this campus and so that information ﾗ the video and that information ﾗ was given to Campus Safety and in turn given to [the] Knox County Sheriff’s Office,” Newell said.
“Myself and another officer looked at the tape recordings, felt pretty sure that it was a person that has been on campus a lot, has a history of thefts.” Hooper said, adding that Safety believes the suspect previously stole items from Olin-Chalmers Library and Peirce Hall.
Hooper described the suspect as a 5’10” brown-haired Caucasian male, sometimes clean-shaven, sometimes with a beard: “He blends in very well. Although he’s a little older, he looks a little younger.” Hooper said he was “hesitant” to discuss the suspect in greater detail because he does “not want to jeopardize anything and [wants to] get him back in law enforcement’s hands.”
Calling the KAC’s video camera footage “critical” in identifying the suspect, Hooper noted, “Now the staff down there has that picture, so if he does happen to come in again, hopefully they’ll call us and we can take care of that.”
Newell, too, praised the advent of the KAC’s camera surveillance system: “Overall, we’ve had less occurrences [of theft] and I think that those cameras have been a large deterrent for people doing things.”
He added security at the building would be enhanced further by the installation of K-Card scanners on locker rooms, an initiative approved by the Board of Trustees. Newell predicted the scanners would be installed by the beginning of next semester.
In an email sent to KAC student employees last Thursday, Newell wrote, “PLEASE continue to do your due diligence in checking IDs and being aware of your surroundings. CHECK EVERY ID!”