Beware Augustana, the person sitting next you at the academic buildings, walking by you in the Commons, or waiting for you to open the dorm door may not belong at this school.
There have been several harmful incidents caused by strangers at Augustana during the past weeks. Affecting the students, faculty and the staff at Augustana.
One of the most recent cases involves a stranger identified as a black male around in his late 20s. On Monday, April 15, the man was confronted by professor Steve Matzner outside of the Gilbert Science Center (GSC). The man was wearing a red baggy sweatshirt with “Coyotes” on it, black baggy pants, a red baseball hat, black shoes and a black backpack.
Biology professor Amy Lewis was teaching a class on Monday between 11 a.m. and noon when the man came into her office. Matzner, who happened to be across Lewis’ office, was the one who confronted the strange man and successfully took a picture of him.
“As far as I know nothing was taken,” Lewis said, “but in the past month or more, we noticed some things missing. Some books are missing from this department.”
Either the same or a different subject on campus also affected a student. Ryan Marks, who lives first floor Stavig, got his laptop and PlayStation 3 equipment stolen on Wednesday morning, April 17.
“Usually my room is locked, but there’s 10 to 15 minutes when I go to shower in the morning when I don’t take my keys with me,” Marks said. “I came back after the shower and I noticed that my laptop was taken.”
Marks filed the report of the missing laptop right away. Surprisingly, after filing the report, Marks went back to his dorm and found out that his PlayStation 3 equipment, including couple of controllers and some games, was gone. This time, Marks filed the report right away not only to Campus Safety, but also to Sioux Falls Police Department in the case of felony.
The missing belonging case also happened to senior Erin Schoenbeck. Her bicycle, “Penelope,” was stolen on Tuesday, April 18, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. from the Commons bike rack.
“My bike is an extremely important aspect of my life,” Schoenbeck said. “It was given to my mother for her 16th birthday and then she gave it to me when I left for college.”
Schoenbeck filed a report to Campus Safety and Sioux Falls Police Department. She also put announcements all over social media and on and off campus in order to identify the location of her bike.
Thanks to the fliers, senior Devon Alber recovered Schoenbeck’s bike on Saturday, April 20.
“I even have a picture hugging my bike,” Schoenbeck said.
Students, faculty and staff have to be aware not only of the safety of their belongings, but also of their own physical safety.
A stranger in an underground tunnel attacked officer Austin Zahn on Tuesday night, April 17. A stranger hit officer Zahn with a large, heavy object, giving him a concussion. Zahn called for help and was taken to emergency room right away.
Rick Tupper, the director of Campus Safety, was notified about officer Zahn and decided to investigate the whole campus from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Unfortunately, Campus Safety has not determined who the person was.
“We have posted his photos on our website,” Tupper said. “There is Campus Safety alerts link, and if you go on that you can see the photos of [the first subject] from both here and Madison.”
The only thing that can prevent these cases in the future is to be aware of yourself and personal belongings, especially because Tupper believes the person who attacked officer Zahn was not the same person who was around GSC.
“Lock your doors,” Lewis said.
“It’s the only way you can protect yourself, just to make sure that everything is secured.”
Tupper encourages students, faculty members and staff to contact Campus Safety right away if they see something or someone suspicious around campus.
“If you see something, say something right away. Don’t wait,” Tupper said. “It would be very helpful if we had it immediately.”