April 19, 2024

Over the past few weeks, a string of scooter thefts have occurred at California Baptist University, the most recent being the theft of two scooters on Feb. 15 by the same individual.

This is not a new problem, as John Freese, the director of Safety Services, said he receives one to three reports of scooter thefts weekly.

Alexa Lupian, freshman child development psychology major, is one of the victims of the scooter thefts. Lupian said she locked her scooter outside the Alumni Dining Commons (ADC) for 40 minutes, and when she returned, it was gone.

She said she felt that the scooter was likely stolen by another student who wanted an expensive electric scooter.

Freese pointed out that electric scooters are often targeted because of their high monetary value.

“Some of the electric scooters are $500 to $1000,” Freese said. “If they get those, they can resell them easily. It’s a quick, easy buck for them.”

Additionally, Freese said that people outside the campus exploit the idealistic mindsets of students.

“I recognized when I got here that there is a disturbing culture on campus of leaving everything unlocked everywhere I go,” Freese said.

“[In] coming from a University of California campus where students had a good culture of locking down their bikes and scooters,” Freese continued, “I was shocked to see how much students trust leaving their things when they go in the Rec Center or ADC.”

He explained that outsiders blend in with other students by riding scooters, wearing backpacks and even purchasing CBU sweatshirts. Though these thieves can be difficult to spot, Freese shared some early indicators that someone could be suspicious.

“If you see someone who is not necessarily college age, that alone is not a reason to call us,” Freese said.

“But if you see them doing something suspicious like riding on a scooter in between areas and not going to a destination or parking a scooter, and then you see them on another scooter, those are red flags.”

Another way students can identify potential suspects is by their behavior. Micah Rich, sophomore studio production major, recalled an encounter with an individual who approached him and his girlfriend as they sat in his vehicle outside Lancer Arms.

After they sent him away, Rich said he noticed the man’s abnormal movements and kept an eye out.
Once he saw the man approach another female student, his girlfriend called Safety Services and the suspect was promptly escorted off campus.

Freese encouraged students to report any suspicious behavior before a theft occurs.
“I want to develop a culture on this campus where all our students are partners with us in keeping it safe,” Freese said.
A Safety Services email alert encouraged scooter and skateboard riders to be sure they use locks at all times.

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