A man suspected of stealing iPhones in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKB) was arrested Thursday.
At around 2:30 p.m., a student witnessed a man allegedly stealing a phone in IKB and contacted Campus Security. Police say they later arrested the suspect, and they released him on the condition that he is not allowed to travel to UBC or the University Endowment Lands.
“We hope … [that] is enough to keep him off the property,” said Sergeant Paulena Gidda of the University RCMP.
For two consecutive days, the RCMP have recieved reports of a man, described as in his 30s with light hair and tattoos on his neck and hands, allegedly stealing phones from students in IKB by asking to borrow them.
“He’s claiming that a loved one has been in an accident,” Gidda said. “He will pretend to place a phone call, start walking away to get some privacy and then is just walking off with their iPhones.
“Not to say don’t trust people who really do need your help, but clearly he’s got an MO going and clearly it’s working for him.”
As any charges that might be laid are pending, and the police would not release any identifying information about the suspect. Gidda said they are currently investigating the possibility that these incidents are connected to other thefts. She said she expects an August court date.
According to Gidda, the incident is a reminder that theft can occur often at UBC.
“It is a very small community, everybody here treats each other as family … [but] we’re not isolated from crime,” Gidda said. “Look out and know where your stuff is and know who it is that you are talking to. Be a little more on guard.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the arrested suspect had tattoos on his face and neck. In fact, the tattoos were on his neck and hands. The article has been updated for accuracy. The Ubyssey regrets the error.