The Mazama building was the scene of two thefts on April 23 between 5 and 5:30 p.m. One was an auto theft that took place in the parking lot behind the tennis court, and the other a theft of property that took place inside the Mazama building in the men’s locker room.
The vehicle stolen was a white 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo with a broken back window on the driver’s side. The owner of the car, Tiana Carter, said that her roommate had moved the car from the bottom of the hill to behind the tennis courts, where it was only parked for half an hour with the doors unlocked and the keys left inside. When Carter and her roommate returned, the car was gone. So far Carter’s efforts to recover the car have been fruitless.
“I hope someone just took it out for a joyride… I just hope I get it back in one piece,” said Carter.
This is the first auto theft on campus since 2010, according to Campus Public Safety Coordinator Jim Bennett. In 2010 there was only one case of auto theft, and before that the last case was a stolen trailer in 2007.
“Auto theft is extremely rare on campus,” said Bennett.
The theft was reported to campus public safety on April 24; immediately after receiving the report, they searched the campus for the vehicle. Unless the vehicle returns to campus, which is unlikely according to Bennett, there is nothing else campus public safety can do.
“Once the vehicle leaves campus, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Bend police,” said Bennett.
The theft within the men’s locker room was reported at 5:30 pm on April 23; the incident report lists a laptop, wallet containing the victim’s driver’s license, a set of keys and a textbook as the stolen property. Campus public safety placed a value of $685 on the stolen property.
Though both cases of theft took place on the same day and within half an hour of each other, Bennett said that there is currently no evidence linking them together.
“There’s no indication that they are related… if new evidence links them together, we will act appropriately,” he said.
Theft has been on the rise at Central Oregon Community College over the last few years, according to Bennett. So far in 2012 there have been 21 reported cases of theft, while three years ago in 2009, there were only 14 cases for the entire year. Reports of theft make up 11.5 percent of the significant calls received by campus public safety, according to Bennett.
Campus public safety is doing what it can to recover the stolen items but without any suspects, their solutions are limited.
“Theft is a really hard crime to come to a successful conclusion,” said Bennett. “It can be taken and disposed of in so many ways and, again, once it leaves the campus, it’s in the realm of the Bend police.”
Though not all thefts are preventable, Bennett recommends that students do what they can to protect their property and avoid becoming victims.