Robberies near campus: Security steps up

Clery requires quick communication between Findlay PD and UF

By Sarah Stubbs and Jacob King
@sarahxstubbs          @JacobKingj4

It was Thursday night, Jan. 14 and the Oiler men’s basketball squad was wrapping up a win against Ohio Dominican.  At 9 p.m., students, faculty, and staff received Oiler Alert texts from the University indicating that the Findlay Police were searching for an armed gunman dressed in dark clothes. The suspect fled the scene of a burglary at the Thunderbird Drive-Thru at 514 N. Main St. and was headed toward campus.

At 9:30 p.m., another text was sent informing students that the suspect had not been found and that all campus buildings were being locked as a precaution.

On Jan. 18, the UF community received an email stating that the Mobil gas station on 1303 N. Main St. was robbed on Jan. 17. The suspect in this instance was also armed fled the scene on foot.

According to the Courier, “The suspect was described as a white male, wearing a black-hooded jacket, blue jeans, and a dark ski mask. He was also wearing white/gray gloves with a black stripe across the palms.”

In less than a week’s time there were three armed robberies in Findlay near UF’s campus.

On Jan. 14, the Thunderbird Drive-Thru robbery was reported at 8:13 p.m. Earlier that day, the Circle K on 100 Crystal Ave. was robbed at 1:20 a.m. Most recently was the Mobil robbery on Jan. 17 at 5:39 p.m.

Steven Baum, captain of safety and security, says that the Findlay Police have a responsibility to communicate with the University as quickly as possible when incidents such as these armed robberies occur.

“They’re supposed to contact us when they have a major incident in and around our area, within a block or two of campus, they are supposed to let us know in a timely manner because we have to give the entire campus timely notification of that,” Baum said.

This responsibility is due to regulations in Title IX’s Clery Act.

Dave Emsweller, vice president of student affairs, says that the Clery Act requires “timely notification.”

“If there’s something that poses a significant threat to campus, colleges are required to do what’s called a ‘timely notification,’” Emsweller said.

A “timely notification” might be a text, email, or even appear as a pop-up onto computer screens.

Emsweller points out in the Jan. 18 UF Update that if the University had been informed about the most recent robbery at Mobil, an Oiler Alert would have been sent that night.

According to Emsweller, there is always an administrator on duty (AOD) who is to be contacted if there’s an emergency situation.

“We rotate so there’s always an AOD. That rotates between Matt Bruskotter, Rachel Walter, Brian Treece, and myself,” Emsweller said. “The AOD gets contacted if there’s an emergency situation and the AOD makes the call if an Oiler Alert gets sent out or not.”

Communication between the police and UF is crucial because according to Emsweller, no one knew anything about any of the robberies until the police contacted them.

Some students who rent houses in the side streets off campus are beginning to feel nervous about the frequency of these events.

Emilee Reed is a senior English education major who rents a house near the Mobil gas station.

“In the time I’ve lived in Findlay, there have been cops over at the Mobil station at least every other week for whatever reason. So as a small female living nearby, I’ve already been cautious,” Reed said.

Reed doesn’t feel threatened on campus or in her home because the robberies have all targeted businesses, not houses or UF buildings.

“I can’t say that I feel particularly unsafe. I’m more concerned about George House being robbed while I’m working,” Reed said.

On campus, Baum said that security has been on high alert – more so than normal.

Since campus is so small, Baum said that patrols have not necessarily increased, but resources are being focused on the edges of campus.

“We’re just concentrating on different areas. We really don’t have a sector that we go on. Campus isn’t that big. So we all go everywhere,” Baum said.

According to Baum, there are two or three officers on duty per shift. This number has not changed with the recent robberies.

“Our guys are so good at being out on patrol all the time. We’re everywhere on campus. We only have two vehicles but you don’t go very long without seeing a campus security officer on campus. We’re always prepared to handle or respond to a situation like that,” Baum said.

As of Jan. 26, no arrests have been made in any of the robberies and Emsweller says that if any information regarding these robberies becomes available, the UF community will be notified.

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