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University News

Suspect arrested in OMAC thefts

The arrest came after five reported thefts from the basketball court area in the past few weeks

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Department of Public Safety officers arrested a Providence resident Nov. 5 in connection with a series of reported thefts at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for DPS.

The arrest came after several weeks of reported thefts from the basketball courts area where students left personal items unattended, Shanley said.

DPS officers were monitoring the rear door of the OMAC when a car pulled up and four individuals entered the building around 6 p.m.

About 20 minutes later, the group returned to the car, at which point DPS received a call from a student reporting a cell phone theft, Shanley said.

Inside, the student had seen the men take his phone and confronted them, but they did not return it, said Sam Margo ’14, who frequents the OMAC. Nick Newhouse ’14, whose phone was also stolen a week before, recognized the suspects from his previous encounter with them — a pickup game they played together — and called DPS, he said.

After the officers received the call, they pulled over the vehicle and found the stolen phone.

Officers arrested Deonne Sutton, 28, and upon further interviews concluded he was involved with at least one of four previous reported thefts. Sutton was charged with two counts of larceny under $1,500. The other three men involved were juveniles whose identities could not be released.

“This group here was probably responsible for what’s been going on there for the past four or five weeks,” Shanley said.

Non-students frequent the OMAC, and one group of men began to regularly appear about a month ago, entering through the rear door and staying for only about 15 minutes, Margo said. Their appearances were frequently coupled with students finding their phones missing, Margo said, adding that most students leave their belongings on the court sidelines instead of using available lockers.

Margo, who knows two people who have had their belongings stolen, said the door through which the group entered is usually unlocked so athletes can easily move between fields and the athletic center. The door is also typically unguarded, Margo added.

The door should be locked or a staff member should be stationed near it, Newhouse said, adding, “That’s the preventative measure that should have been taken and should be taken in the future.”

“Ongoing investigations will be continuing on this matter,” Shanley said.

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  1. With Shanley it’s always on-going. He doesn’t get any job done.

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