Rising theft and robberies leave students thinking

Brittany Moseley

photo illustrations by Amanda Sowards

Credit: Steve Schirra

Aimee Thomas always leaves her book bag in the same place in the Music and Speech Center when she has marching band practice. On Sept. 13 though, her book bag was stolen.

“It had everything in it,” said Thomas, freshman visual communications major. “My cell phone, birthday money, a new digital camera I got for my birthday, my room key, FlashCard and my Windbreaker.”

Alice Ickes, a crime prevention officer at the Kent State Police Department said bookbags and purses are stolen the most, but students should report all thefts.

“The police department doesn’t know what’s going on unless it’s reported,” Ickes said.

After her bookbag was stolen, Thomas filed a police report and then she canceled her credit card, cell phone and FlashCard.

Ickes suggests making copies of important cards such as your license and any credit cards.

“Thieves are quick to use credit cards,” Ickes said. “But if you have a copy of your card, there’s usually a number on the back that you can call to cancel it.”

Other items that are frequently stolen are parking passes. Rasalba Heschelman, the administrative clerk at Parking Services, said students should report a stolen parking pass as soon as possible.

“You have to come in and fill out a form and pay $2 for the replacement permit cost,” Heschelman said. “After that, the parking permit is put on a ‘hot list.'”

If a car is found with a parking pass that matches one on the “hot list,” the owner is fined $100 and the car is towed.

“Sometimes the cases go to judicial affairs,” Heschelman said. “Then judicial affairs decides if the person is prohibited from parking on campus again.”

Since Thomas filed a police report, she didn’t have to pay to replace her room key or her FlashCard.

“If you bring in the police report you aren’t charged,” said Jody Helton, an account clerk at the FlashCard Office.

Helton said it’s important to put a hold on your FlashCard if it’s stolen. A hold stops the card from working.

“You can put a hold on it through the FlashCard Web site or our office,” Helton said.

Thomas didn’t have to wait too long to get her bookbag back. She received a call from the police later that night.

“They called me at ten because the guy who stole my bookbag had tried to use my credit card at Kohl’s,” Thomas said.

Thomas was one of the lucky ones who actually got some of her belongings back, but many never do. Ickes said students should be smart when leaving their belongings unattended.

“Don’t leave things in plain sight,” Ickes said. “Always lock things up. People can be so lax about locks.”

So the next time you’re in the library and decide to leave everything so you can hurry to the bathroom, think before you get up because your stuff may be gone when you return.

Contact features correspondent Brittany Moseley at [email protected].