- Grace Mackey
On-campus theft raises concern among PBA students
On Jan. 4, West Palm Beach police arrested a suspect accused of stealing student belongings on Palm Beach Atlantic University campus property. The belongings included small electronic devices and missing jewelry that several students said had been missing for months.
PBA students received an email from the Department of Public Safety on Feb. 7, notifying them of the arrest and encouraging students to come forward if they were missing items.
“In general, DPS has received an increase of reported thefts [and] lost property in the past semester with respect to previous semesters,” said both Major Curtis Krauel and Director of the Department of Public Safety Adam Pina.
Jacqui Daspit, a resident assistant in Oceanview Hall, reported $900 in cash missing from a drawer in her dorm when she returned from winter break. The drawer where her money had been was left a mess, and Daspit’s door had a tag left on it to show that a maintenance worker had been there. Daspit was confused, considering she had been there for a maintenance visit that took place after the break had begun, and questioned why another visit took place so soon after. She claims that the log used to record who enters and leaves student dormitories is only used when students are on campus.
“I was asking a lot of questions about why he was in my room over break,” Daspit said.
Daspit said she was sure that she had been robbed after hearing the stories of other thefts on campus. She was even recommended a detective that a fellow student had independently hired in order to find their lost items.
Once the Department of Public Safety sent out an email about the missing items, Daspit reported her lost money to Krauel. She decided to report her missing money to the Department of Public Safety when she realized the benefits for herself and others.
“This might actually help other people to come forward and say I had been stolen from,” Daspit said.
Kaylin Iszler, a nursing student and commuter at PBA, recalled a different experience with campus theft protocol. She was changing into her scrubs for clinical in the Warren Library and accidentally left her shoes there. After she confirmed with several library employees that her shoes were seen in the lost-and-found but were missing, multiple workers advised her to wait and see if anyone found them. After not hearing back, Iszler went to the Department of Public Safety to report her missing shoes a week later.
“I am not sure I got a single full-length sentence out,” said Iszler, describing her meeting with the Public Safety Officer.
Iszler said that she felt very disregarded, and claimed the officer spoke over her throughout their conversation. She was told that the department would do its best to find her shoes, but she has not heard anything yet. Iszler attributes much of her frustration to other incidents she has heard about on campus.
“I’ve heard about multiple robberies, one of them proven by West Palm Beach police to be a robbery by a national team member,” Iszler said. “I wish they would have addressed the situation with more transparency about what is actually happening on campus.”
The Department of Public Safety was unable to provide information about the suspect found with student belongings in order to protect the privacy of a criminal investigation involving local law enforcement.
“You should take steps to prevent further theft by securing your belongings and being aware of your surroundings,” Krauel said. “This can include locking your doors and windows, using a U-Bolt, security or lock valuable items and being cautious of strangers or unfamiliar people on campus.”
The Residential Life Office at PBA performed check-ins with individual students to see if they were missing items.
“We will continue to monitor the safety of our community and work with the Department of Public Safety to investigate any concerns brought to our attention,” said Kara Wenger, Dean of Students, about Residential Life’s response to the theft of student belongings.
By Grace Mackey