Attempted RTVC thefts remain a mystery

Tom Andrew

The Radio and Television Communications Department has faced attempted thefts over the last few semesters, most recently during the week of March 22, raising a number of questions that no one seems to be able to answer.

According to Professor John Hildebrand, the tape editing room was locked when he left the night before March 22.

The next morning Professor Laura Castaneda unlocked the room to let students in and didn’t notice anything suspicious at that time. It wasn’t until a few hours later that two computers and a mixing board were noticed unplugged and left by the doorway.

Campus police were notified and the attempt was reported.

“The police said that since no crime had been committed, and nothing was taken, nothing could be done,” Hildebrand said.

Campus police officer Jeff Rabine arrived at the scene and assessed the situation. He said it is possible that a crime was attempted, but since it wasn’t followed through it couldn’t be reported as such.

“Things were moved around, but that doesn’t mean it was being stolen,” Rabine said. “Those items could have been unplugged and removed because they were going to be fixed, we just don’t know.”

Rabine commented that there is no alarm system for the tape editing room, which has some of the most expensive equipment in the department.

There is also no sign-in and out policy, and the room always being unlocked leaves the room available for anyone to lift items and no one would probably notice it.

Rabine added that there are other rooms in the building that have alarms, but it is rare that teachers and professors punch in the alarm code when leaving for the day.

“We get notice of the alarms going off,” Rabine said. “(We) check on them, but many times it is because the alarm code isn’t being used.”

Rabine recommends making changes to the room to make it more difficult for potential thieves to steal.

When Rabine was asked who had keys to the building and the rooms, he said that while the police department has that information, he couldn’t remember how many people have keys.

“The building itself is not insured,” said Hildebrand. “It’s considered ‘self-insured,’ and that means that if anything is stolen, it only gets replaced if the professors replace it. The college district doesn’t insure the building for any losses. There is no insurance policy for this building.”

While most of the rooms in the building do have a sign-in and sign-out policy, and the recording studios require you to turn in student IDs and have a scheduled time, it has been reported that many students get away with not following the sign-in policies.

Both Rabine and Hilderbrand said an alarm system for the building is needed and necessary, but the department cannot afford it.

Attempts were made to speak to Minou Djawdan Spradley, Interim Dean for the department, but she was not available to comment.

“There is an impact on the students in regards to the loss, but the biggest impact is on that of the professors and the instructors to let students in and out of the rooms,” added Hildebrand. “It’s one or two little things that destroy it for everyone.”