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Mon September 21, 2009
More arrests, names released in campus thefts
By Scott Harvey
Commerce – Four peole, three of them students, have now been arrested in a string of thefts at Texas A&M University-Commerce that dates back to last year.
Andrew Dahir and Joseph Jaska, both 19, have been charged with felony theft. 19-year-old Caleb Slinkard has been charged with burglary. All three were also facing pending charges of engaging in organized crime as of Friday. A fourth suspect has not been named.
A charge of engaging or organized crime would result in a 3rd degree felony, according to the University Police Department's Jason Bone. Punishment upon conviction could range from 2-10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Bone says the thefts were mostly the result of accessibility to areas that held valuable merchandise, such as through work or a campus event.
"This was a case where these individuals were taking advantage of their situation at the university and involvement with some activities on campus... They took poor advantage of us this way."
Tips through anonymous sources led UPD to the arrests, but the investigation is still ongoing, as authorities feel there could be more people involved.
"This investigation could be going on through the rest of the semester," says Bone.
Approximately $26,000 worth of merchandise, namely computers, have been stolen from the several campus locations and some of the items have even been sold. The good news, according to Bone, is UPD has recovered $19,000 in merchandise to date. He advises anyone who thinks they may have purchased stolen equipment to contact UPD or they could face charges.
Anyone with any additional information on this string of thefts is also being asked to contact UPD at 903-886-5868.
"This is really not a victimless crime," says Bone. "It's something that we just won't tolerate."