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Campus tools stolen, losses in thousands

More than $10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from a campus facilities storage container last Thursday.

The items were taken from the maintenance yard after the thieves cut through the chain-link fence surrounding Mills and proceeded to sever the container’s locks, campus facilities officials said.

According to a Public Safety report, chain saws, weed eaters, and leaf blowers were stolen, among other tools, including an electrical generator and a water pump. The total loss amounted to $11,660 worth of property.

Jess Texeira, campus painter for facilities, said the outside fence was cut and campus entered from the parking lot of the Evangelical Free Church of Oakland off of Seminary Avenue. Two outdoor containers were targeted.

According to Texeira, the Oakland Fire Department regulations require gas powered equipment to be stored outside of buildings in such containers. While the thieves managed to cut through one lock, they were unsuccessful in their attempt to burglarize a second container. Both containers have since been fitted with new locks that are protected from three sides.

Although an Oakland Police Department officer was dispatched to the scene of the crime, there are no suspects and little hope for recovery of the stolen property.

This is not the first time campus facilities has been burglarized officials said.

“It’s pretty regular-every couple years,” said Paul Richards, associate director of campus facilities.

Grounds and facilities personnel understand why their property is targeted.

“When you think about it, we’re a maintenance department and people know that’s where the tools are,” said Administrative Assistant Pat Ernesto.

Texeira also recognized that the department’s vulnerability stems from its visibility. “You can see all the maintenance vehicles (from the road). Criminals are pretty

observant,” he said.

Grounds Manager Dwayne DeFount was in the process of replacing the stolen tools early this week.

Richards, however, is looking ahead with prevention in mind. “What we really need to do up here is improve our surveillance,” said Richards.