Thefts on the rise.

By Adriana Hunstad

After a busy month in April, May was relatively quiet for Campus Security with only a few major incidents. In one case, Parking Services staff in the Arts Parkade noticed a man stumbling on 24 Ave.

"The Parking Services officer went up and engaged him in conversation. He had difficulty walking, and he was very unsteady on his feet," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "Parking Services officers in conversation learned he had recently been a victim of a stroke and was trying to get to the Foothills Hospital because he wasn’t feeling very well."

The man, a member of the public, felt faint and was on his way to the hospital to get some blood work. Campus Security attended, and an ambulance transported the man to the hospital.

Another medical incident occurred in Lot 1, where a woman was lying on the ground. She appeared to have fallen, and when approached by officers, she was incoherent. Her condition was unknown, and she was rushed to the Foothills Hospital by EMS.

Meanwhile, what appeared to be a random act of violence ended up causing $10,450 in damage to an analytical chemistry lab in Science A.

"A concrete block thrown in the window hit lab equipment that included sensitive scales, which are very valuable," said Fritz.

The damage was discovered a Monday morning early in May.

The university took another financial hit when three projectors were stolen from a Comm-Media storage room.

"We are really concerned when we have $30,000 of very expensive projectors stolen," said Fritz.

The University of Calgary joins other organizations, such as the Foothills Hospital, City of Calgary, Mount Royal College, and the Peter Lougheed Hospital, who have all experienced the theft of these projectors. Many projectors were stolen from ceilings where they were mounted. Many of these projectors have since been secured with alarms and extra cables, but the recent theft occurred with projectors attached to carts.

"The thieves went in, used some huge cable cutters to cut the cable that fastens the projectors to the cart. We have since called City Police and they continue to investigate," said Fritz.

Meanwhile, Campus Security and Comm-Media have jointly initiated additional security measures. So far this year, a total of five projectors have been stolen, a big number since there were no thefts in 2001 and 2002, and only six were stolen between 1998-2000.

"Police believe these are likely being stolen for home theatres," said Fritz.

Car thefts have also increased recently. In the past three months, there have been 24 identified car prowlings. Lots 10 and 12 are the most targeted.

"We would like to remind staff and students in parking their vehicles that it is really important that valuables are out of sight. We feel that off-campus criminals canvas out parking lots, looking to target vehicles that have valuables such as speakers for expensive stereo systems," warned Fritz.

Criminals will even break into cars for the simplest items, such as a few CDs or pocket change laying out in plain view.

In May, three vehicles were stolen. One car, a Honda Accord whose owner invested a lot money in making it nicer, was spotted driving around campus by the student two days after it went missing, and he immediately called police. With the student’s help, police found the car at a fast food outlet in Brentwood Mall. A small car chase ensued, but the chase was abandoned by police due to heavy traffic and pedestrians in the area.

Separately, things got interesting at the Olympic Oval as the Alberta Volleyball tournament wrapped up. Campus Security officers were on a routine patrol when they found the event’s organizers drinking beers and playing race games with the Oval’s golf cart.

"It looked like they decided to kick back and have a beer, or two, or three. In any event, it escalated to the point that these organizers decided to drive around the Oval in the golf cart. They raced around the running track while drinking, and slamming beer cans into the garbage bin," said Fritz.

Officers immediately stopped the game, called "Beercan Basketball Relay" by those involved, and the participants were sent away.

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