Catalytic converter thefts; heightened police presence

By Alexis Schulz

Nine reports have been made of catalytic converters being stolen from cars parked in various lots on the Lawrenceville campus since Oct. 9, according to university officials.

Vickie Weaver, director of Public Safety, said on Oct. 9 a female student parked her car in R lot and when she returned two days later, she noticed the catalytic converter was missing from the underside of her vehicle. Since this initial report, Public Safety has been made aware of nine other instances of missing catalytic converters.

After working with Lawrence Police, Public Safety was able to identify a potential suspect in video footage driving a mid to late 2000s silver Nissan Altima.

Kristine Brown, university spokeswoman, said the university is handling the situation with Lawrence Police to ensure that students and the community are safe.

“We have been informed that thefts have also occurred in surrounding communities and institutions,” she said in a statement. “We are working closely with the Lawrence Township Police to identify the individuals responsible for these thefts and have shared video footage of the suspected vehicle.”

Since Oct. 14, four Allied Barton staff members have been patrolling in both marked and unmarked vehicles and on foot from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Public Safety has also increased patrol of parking lots, and Lawrence Police have conducted supplemental patrols over the weekend.

Brown said the university is taking precautions and has patrolling officers on campus but urges community members to report anything they find unusual.

“We have also taken active steps to increase public safety coverage in our parking lots in both marked and unmarked vehicles, and on foot,” she said. “The Lawrence Township Police have also conducted supplemental patrols. We encourage all members of our university community to report suspicious activity immediately to our Public Safety Department.”

Public Safety asks students to not confront individuals if an incident is occurring. Students can reach Public Safety to report suspicious individuals or activities at 609-896-7777 in an emergency or 609-896-5029 at all other times.

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