Robberies Prompt Security Changes at Orange Coast College

Robberies Prompt Security Changes at Orange Coast College

Surveillance footage shows suspects climbing over the fence by the Recycling Center, but no one has been identified, Rudy said.

Campus Safety and the Maintenance and Operations department at Orange Coast College are increasing security at the college’s Recycling Center after a series of thefts and break-ins, according to Chief of Campus Safety Jim Rudy, Coast Report Online reported.

Incidents at the Orange Coast College Recycling Center began July 9, with others occurring July 31, Sept. 21, Sept. 26, Oct. 2, Oct. 26, and Nov. 4, according to Rudy. Rudy said the break-ins have mostly taken place between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. but the most recent theft was reported just after midnight.

The suspects are mostly stealing recycled electronics, he said, none of which are likely worth more than $500. “The only thing I can think of is maybe they’re getting some money for them to have the laptops refurbished,” Rudy said.

Surveillance footage shows suspects climbing over the fence by the Recycling Center, but no one has been identified, Rudy said. There are usually no more than two suspects entering the area at once, and they can be seen tearing over recyclables wrapped in Saran-wrap to grab laptops and other electronics.

“We do have a camera system and we do see folks entering the site,” he said. “But a lot of times they’re wearing jackets or hoodies and it’s very difficult to identify them.”

During one October incident, an officer from Campus Safety was stationed inside the Recycling Center between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and saw “a couple of suspects” on video surveillance enter the premises. That officer notified the Costa Mesa Police Department, but the suspects fled campus once law enforcement arrived, Rudy said.

Campus Safety now has “midnight officers” assigned to patrol the area routinely. “Part of our briefing item (for midnight officers) is around 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. to have high visibility patrol out there, every night,” Rudy said. “And also to do foot patrols.”

Two other thefts have also been reported on campus lately, but Rudy doesn’t believe that those incidents and the Recycling Center thefts are connected.

“I’m hoping that soon, working with our maintenance and operations team, we’ll be able to work on hardening that area with some fencing that’s taller and more of a security style fencing to at least deter or make it more difficult for these folks to enter that recycling area,” Rudy said.

Rudy said the maintenance and operations team plan to purchase additional locking metal storage bins in which to store recyclables.

“Right now being the middle of the semester, it’s difficult for our maintenance and operations team to find time when they’re handling other requests on campus,” Rudy said. “So we’re hoping that during the winter break we’ll be able to get that done.”

Original reporting by Kassidy Dillon, Editor-in-Chief of the Coast Report Online, student voice of Orange Coast College.

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