Resident Assistant Anna Petrucci got robbed through the night. Officer Dan Irons was on scene, but no police report could be filed. This was another night that Irons advised residents of Goshen, Tyson, McCarthy and Killinger Hall, how to keep their property secure, prior to their night at Putt-Putt miniature golf.
Petrucci made several attempts to make par on each of the 18 holes on the miniature golf course. Despite her efforts, the golf ball rounded the hole several times and stole her chances of par. She got back on her game to make a hole-in-one on two courses. By the end of the night, she tied for first in a game against a Resident Assistant (RA) and two residents.
With the semester winding down, textbook sell-back periods will begin. Around this time, most students wonder how much money they will receive upon returning their semesters books. At the Department of Public Safety, this is the time of the year that the officers warn students to be even more careful of their belongings and textbooks. The process of returning textbooks does not require a student ID. Irons explained how this leads to a theft opportunity for cash back. This happens every semester, he said.
Irons estimated a probability of a “50/50 chance” that the complainant would have his or her stolen books returned to them, if he or she reports the theft to Public Safety as soon as it occurs. He informed students that reporting crimes in a timely matter is crucial and beneficial to the police investigation and to the person reporting the theft.
“Every second that goes by is another second that (the thief) . . . is selling the (stolen) property,” Irons said.
Officer Irons has previously recovered stolen textbooks and made theft-related arrests. He said some of the persons arrested for this crime have no association with the university. Bookstores buying back books do not require ID during the process. If theft is reported to Public Safety as soon as it is noticed, the officers can alert bookstore personnel to lookout for certain textbook titles to be sold back.
He told the students that if they have a suspicion of someone committing theft on-campus, to note the physical description of the person and to report the behavior to the university police. Irons discussed details of how the police could then look for witnesses to account the actions of the person who allegedly stole the property and attempt to find the property and the alleged party. Irons emphasized to students to report a theft when they notice the incident.
“I can’t stress this enough. Please lock your doors,” Iron emphasized, “Even if it’s just to go (down the hall) to the bathroom.” Property “disappears often.”
The night at Putt-Putt had been quiet until WCU students showed up to fill the four golf courses with laughter. The sound of the golf ball clanked the side rails before the ball settled in the hole.
“It was a fun outing with our residents,” RAs Petrucci and Ely Cruz agreed.
Irons had fun in plain clothes as he made a hole-in-one on four of the courses. When he returned the students to campus, he put on his uniform to work his shift until 7 a.m.
“I think residents will get to know the police officers this way,” Cruz said about the community policing event. “That’s really refreshing.”
At no cost to them, residents were provided transportation, two games of miniature golf, and eight tokens for arcade games, a soda and a hot dog.
“With so many freshmen in the dorms, it’s nice for them to (be provided) transportation to get off-campus,” Cruz said.
She led the group in games when one of the two buses broke down in the parking lot of Putt-Putt in Clifton Heights. Several students then played “I spy” while another group sang a mix of songs.
Prior to the departure, Irons began his safety talk by holding a red solo cup. Similar to the discussions held by the Health and Wellness staff, he reviewed the ounces in the cup to the serving sizes of a standard drink of wine, beer and liquor.
Irons shifted gears, this time to discuss safety in the pedestrian cross-walk. He advised students that if they are already in the crosswalk to still “determine if you can cross safely” before crossing the street. He pointed out intersections such as High Street and Rosedale Avenue and instructed students to wait for the crossing signals to indicate when to cross.
He noted Church Street and University Avenue and caught laughter from the audience when they visualized the heavy foot traffic crossing the street and jaywalking. He warned students that drivers cannot see them when they walk from in between food trucks and parked cars on Church Street. He recalled one night, even as his emergency lights flashed on his patrol car, people still crossed in front of him or other cars that drove by.
“I liked how his information involved alcohol and then he talked about more than that,” Petrucci said. She and other McCarthy Hall RAs used the alcohol alternative event as a residence hall social for residents with Public Safety. “It gave me a new perspective when he talked about jaywalking.”
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.