A non-resident student let himself into a propped door in Griffon Hall and stole a student’s keys as well as its correlating vehicle on Feb. 17.
St. Joseph resident Tyren Colbert was taken into custody on March 21 at 5:35 p.m. and has been charged with burglary of 2nd degree which is a class D felony on April 4. Colbert was scheduled for his first hearing on April 17. It is believed that Colbert took the stolen vehicle to a nearby gas station where the suspect purchased cigarettes.
The car was found abandoned by a city officer and was brought to a tow lot where campus police were notified of the missing vehicle. Damages of the car were reported on Feb. 26. The locking gas cap and the turn nob for the headlights were damaged.
Colbert was linked to the car theft after he was identified by city officials through the cameras in Griffon Hall. There were several warrants out for Colbert and he was questioned by campus Police after he was taken in by the local police.
Campus Police Chief Trevor Brown said they didn’t take long to find Colbert due to his outstanding warrants.
“He was wearing a very distinctive hat and shoes that were visible on the camera system over in Griffon Hall,” Brown said. “We had been circulating the picture throughout the local enforcement and several officers knew where he hung out. He had several outstanding warrants already so we worked with the St. Joseph Police Department and got him picked up on his warrants and then we went down and interviewed him while he was in custody for those.”
Director of Residential Life Nathan Roberts said this situation opened up the conversation about how to keep campus a safer place to prevent similar situations from happening.
“We try to impress upon the students that this is a really safe campus. It’s easy to get comfortable,” Roberts said. “The crimes that we have are crimes of opportunity. Leaving a propped door or you are at the library and you leave your laptop out while you go get a book and somebody swipes it, that type of stuff. We try to make it a real safe environment, but you got to help us make it safe. Try not to let your guard down too much. We do want students to treat this like their home and we want them to feel comfortable here.”
There was no harm done to the Western student or to Western’s campus and the vehicle was returned to its rightful owner.