14 Grand Larceny Reports in 2 Weeks
There have been 14 reports of grand larceny in the past two weeks, as revealed by the University Police Department’s daily crime reports.
The 14 reports dwarf the number of grand larceny incidents reported since the beginning of the semester. For each of the three two-week periods prior to this one, the average reported was less than four. Over the same two-week period last fall (Oct. 12 to 27), only two grand larceny incidents are listed on daily crime reports.
Fourth degree grand larceny is defined by New York statute as stealing debit or credit cards, or anything worth $1,000 or more. More than half of the incidents in the past two weeks were listed as stolen debit, credit, SUNY cards, or wallets. Others include keys, backpacks, and tables.
State Quad students reported to police that four men talked their way into several dorm rooms and stole a wallet over homecoming weekend.
Several students who witnessed the incident at State Quad last Sunday said that four high-school to college-age African-American men were talking loudly in a common area in the dorms, asking residents to sell them an ounce of weed.
“They invited themselves inside [the dorm rooms] and made themselves at home,” said a witness, who wishes to remain anonymous to respect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, “They were trying to assimilate with us.”
The four men reportedly claimed they were from Brooklyn and that they weren’t UAlbany students. They took Snapchats with dorm residents and claimed to have been on stage with Famous Dex at homecoming, showing one witness a video. After spending time in one dorm, they moved on to the one next to it.
“When theft does occur in the residential halls, it is typically due to unlocked doors,” said Keith Nunez, State Quad’s Residential Director, in an email. “To help raise awareness, we began a ‘Lock Your Door’ initiative in August, placing door hangers on every suite/apartment door throughout the five Quads and the Apartments.”
“Each evening we staff the living areas with at least one professional staff member and a team of Resident Assistants/Housing Managers on duty to assist with emergencies.”
Empire Commons was later the site of another credit card theft two hours later on Sunday. Resident Jacob Talarico, who hadn’t heard about the thefts, said he understood how they could occur.
“Kids are really trusting,” said Talarico, a junior psychology student. “They’ll hold the door open for people behind them. I mean, if I’m walking into my building, I don’t expect people to slam the door behind them.”
UPD Inspector Jennifer Baldwin said that she had not heard about any increasing trends of grand larceny on campus, mostly because her main job is to oversee preventative measures.
“We’ve increased patrols since the beginning of the semester,” said Baldwin. “And increased cameras have been instrumental to preventing crime.”
All other UPD officials contacted did not immediately respond to The ASP’s requests for comment.
Grand larceny in New York is a Class E non-violent felony which does not warrant jail time; convicted felons in that classification face maximum fines of $5,000 and 1.3 to 4 years maximum probation.
In a “Halloween Safety” email to off-campus students on Friday, Neighborhood Life included the direction, “Do not let people into your home that you do not already know.”
Jason Seidman, a State Quad resident, had even simpler directions: “Just don’t steal my stuff.”