The few good Samaritans and the stolen meter
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, a staff member at Blugold Central requested to speak with UW-Eau Claire police regarding an email from a male student, explaining how he accidently backed into a parking meter with his car in the Haas Fine Arts parking lot on Tuesday night.
According to the report, the male stated he was able to straighten the parking meter and was unable to see any visible damages, but would be willing to cover the cost if they found it necessary.
Wednesday around noon, a female student reported she tried to put money into the meter and the post fell to the ground.
Later that day, at approximately 6:46 p.m., an on-campus police officer was dispatched to Oxford Avenue for a theft case.
The officer arrived at the scene to meet with two witnesses of the crime. They explained to the officer they had seen two “college-aged” male subjects carrying a parking meter and pole through the Haas Fine Arts parking lot.
One witness stated she observed the male subjects load the parking meter into the trunk of a vehicle.
According to the report, the witness had driven around the lot to find the space where a parking meter was stolen from.
The witnesses then saw the male subjects drive off with the parking meter and decided to follow them.
The witnesses said the vehicle seemed to be deliberately speeding away from them and took sharp turns around corners. However, they were able to take a picture of the vehicle and the license plate number.
The officer found the owner of the vehicle, a male UW-Eau Claire student and made contact with him.
According to the report, the subject admitted to stealing the parking meter but told the officer it was returned back to the lot.
The subject then went into the department for questioning.
The male subject told police he had been in the Fine Arts lot and noticed the parking meter had been broken off and thought it would be funny to take it.
The subject told police he loaded the meter into his vehicle but realized 30 seconds later it was a dumb idea. He then went back to the lot to return the parking meter.
The officer asked the subject who his accomplice was, and after refusing to answer, the subject gave the name of the other subject who assisted him in stealing the parking meter.
According to the report, the first male subject minimized the fact he stole property, explaining it was not a big deal. The officer then explained to the subject he had committed theft by taking property that did not belong to him.
The officer explained the Eau Claire County Diversion Program to him and the subject agreed to participate in the program.
Campus police also set up a time to speak with the other male subject who assisted in stealing the meter.
The second subject told the officer he and the first male subject thought it would be fun to take the parking meter and put it in his living room. They had brought it back to the house but then realized it was a stupid idea and they should return it.
The accomplice agreed to participate in the Eau Claire County Diversion Program as well.
This popcorn’s on fire
At approximately 11 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27, two campus police officers were exiting Crest Wellness Center when they observed a large group of people standing outside Sutherland Hall.
According to the report, one officer observed the flickering of fire alarm strobes. She contacted the Communication Center who advised they were aware of the alarm and the fire department had already been called.
The officers went to investigate the panel and found a smoke detector had been activated in the west wing of the second floor.
According to the report, they were unable to locate a room number but the police officer advised the alarm was caused by burnt popcorn.
A fire truck arrived on the scene and campus police silenced the alarm. The police officer could detect the strong odor of burnt popcorn.
One campus police officer advised the other officer and firemen that he had located a pull station on the second floor had been activated with the black pull bar broken.
They attempted to reset the alarm, but due to the old-style pull station, the officers were unable to reset it.
Fire personnel stated they were comfortable leaving the alarm silenced and requested an electrician be called in.
The campus police officers agreed the alarm could stay silenced until the next day and advised the residents they could re-enter the building.