By Kaye Burnet | News Editor
Duquesne police are still searching for two different suspects in purse thefts that occurred on campus during the last week.
According to Assistant Police Chief Mike Sippey, an unidentified male walked into Mellon Hall on Oct. 9 after 3:15 p.m. and attempted to “blend in” with passersby by “engaging in apparent brief conversations.” The man successfully walked into an empty office and stole a purse.
On Oct. 12, a different man entered the school of music between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., according to Sippey. He also stole a purse that contained cash, credit cards, gift cards and personal identification.
Sippey said witness descriptions and video evidence indicate that the thefts were not committed by the same man.
In the second theft, witnesses described the man as a white male between the ages of 50 and 60 who is approximately 5’9 or 5’10 feet tall, according to Sippey. The man had “grayish white hair” a “scruffy” beard and “bushy” eyebrows. Witnesses said the man did not appear nervous or uncertain.
Police believe that the man who committed the music school theft also entered the Rangos health science building on Oct. 16 with the intention of committing a second theft.
According to Sippey, an employee in Rangos working in an office “not normally accessed by members of the public” confronted him when he entered the office. The man “asked odd questions…took a handful of candy and left,” according to a campus-wide email sent by Duquesne police on Monday.
According to Sippey, there is no evidence to suggest that either suspect is a member of the Duquesne community or that he is violent.
“In no way has he posed a threat to the physical well being of anyone on campus – he wants to steal small items such as wallets, money or credit cards and then leave campus unnoticed,” Sippey said.
Sippey said that the best way to prevent petty theft is to be attentive and took keep track of belongings at all times, even in familiar settings.
“Duquesne University is such a caring, safe community that it can lead us into feeling a sense of security to the point that we sometimes forget common sense things we learned in grade school— never leave your valuables unattended even for a brief moment,” Sippey said.