Thefts at the rec spike since last spring

Simon Husted

The number of thefts reported at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center has doubled from Spring 2009 to Spring 2010. More than half of the thefts, however, could have been prevented with the use of a lock, according to Recreation Services.

For the past two years, Matthew Wilson regularly exercised at the rec center and during each visit, he left his belongings in an unlocked locker.

“When I first came here, I saw that a lot of the lockers were unlocked as well,” the junior aeronautic studies major said, adding that he had faith someone might intervene in the rare case of someone trying to sneak away with his belongings.

On April 5, Wilson said he left a bag with his belongings in an unlocked locker at around 3:30 p.m., exercised for about an hour, returned and was surprised to learn his wallet was missing from his bag.

Ten thefts at the rec center, including Wilson’s, have been reported to the Kent State Police Department this semester. Half of these reported thefts occurred the same week Wilson’s wallet went missing.

Six of the 10 thefts took place in unlocked lockers inside the men’s locker room, Jason Hawk, marketing coordinator at Recreation Services, wrote in an e-mail.

Hawk wrote he is still looking into the circumstances of the three most recent theft reports, which were reported April 22, April 17 and April 14.

One theft report on Feb. 23 was resolved by arrest, according to police records.

Kent State police said they are looking into leads and declined to comment.

Last semester, three thefts at the rec center were reported.

Since his theft, Wilson said he has spent $100 replacing all that was stolen in his wallet, including $30 worth of cash. He said he takes full responsibility of what occurred and now before exercising he secures all of his items with a lock he recently bought.

“Two dollars,” Wilson said. “That’s all it cost me to buy a lock.”

Hawk said rec center personnel make rounds every hour near the locker rooms, and since the early April thefts were reported, police presence has increased.

“We are making every attempt to find out who is behind this series of theft,” Hawk said.

Kent State police encouraged anyone with knowledge regarding the thefts to call Kent State Police Services at 330-672-2212.

Contact safety reporter Simon Husted at [email protected].