Cash was stolen from the MSU Denver Student Activities office safe during a break-in sometime between June 7 and 12.
The exact time and date of the break in is unknown because SA employees had been out of the office during those days. According to Angela LeValley, director of Student Activities, the office door, a closet door and a safe had been broken into, but no damage was done to the doors. From the safe, over $1000 in petty cash was stolen.
The investigation is ongoing, but Michael Phibbs, chief of Auraria Police Department, said that the nature of the crime indicates burglary, not theft. Burglary charges are brought when an individual trespasses.
in a building to commit a crime, whereas theft charges are brought against an individual who is authorized to be in the building, such as an employee or student. Until now, there has been no indication that SA was targeted specifically.
“We have no information that would lead us to believe it was someone within SA or a student,” LeValley said.
The crime has caused some damage to the SA office, both financially and mentally.
“I believe it was damaging not only to the budget, but it’s particularly unnerving to think about someone breaking into our workspace which we see as a safe space,” LeValley said.
The petty cash will be covered by MSU Denver’s insurance policy, but the emotional damage caused by the invasion is a different situation. Although it’s still too early to say exactly what will change, Braelin Pantel, Associate Vice President of Student Engagement & Wellness and Dean of Students, said that security will most likely change.
“I think it’s hard to say, it’s a bit premature. I think depending on what information we can glean, and if the police are able to identify that there’s something we can do to prevent loss from happening, I’m always interested and open to that,” she said.
Phibbs said the police will start with video footage and key card access to identify possible suspects. For cases similar to this crime, APD borrows the Denver Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit and crime lab to assess trace evidence. In cases where only cash is stolen, there is often nothing that can be done to recover it. APD also utilizes the Crime Stoppers program.
“Sometimes we get tips from people who learned about a crime and are decent people who want to do the right thing,” Phibbs said.
Auraria campus has seen some unusual crimes in the 2016-2017 year. Back in March and April three arsons were reported on campus. APD identified and started
the process of getting warrants for two suspects who are unrelated to each other. The third perpetrator is still at large. Crime is relatively low for a population of approximately 45,000 people. “Crime overall has been about the same pace, or a little less, since I’ve been chief here,” Phibbs said of the last three years. Crimes like bike theft are down significantly thanks to programs and safety promotions by the APD.
Author: Madison Lauterbach
Madison Lauterbach is a junior at MSU Denver majoring in convergent Journalism and minoring in Political Science. She has served as the news editor for The Metropolitan since February 2017. You can follow her on Twitter @milauter1.