Police investigate grand theft in Clayes Performing Arts Center

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Professor William F. Lett's office in the Claye Performing Arts Center was broken into last week. Lett lost almost $1,000 worth of equipment. (Yunuen Bonaparte)
William Lett’s office in the Claye Performing Arts Center was one of several broken into last week. Lett lost almost $1,000 worth of equipment.
(Yunuen Bonaparte / Daily Titan)

Almost $1,000-worth of electronics were reported stolen from the Clayes Performing Arts Center Tuesday, Sept. 1 after dance professor William Lett discovered personal property was missing from his office.

The value of Lett’s items total $975, said University Police captain Scot Willey. Under section 487 of the California Penal Code, grand theft is committed when the money, or personal property taken is of a value exceeding $950.

There was no sign of forced entry, Willey said. “This leads us to believe that someone has the key” to Lett’s office, said Willey.

Lett discovered his medical kit was missing while preparing for a class involving aerial work. Along with medical supplies, the kit contained a Logitech boombox, two iPods, an infrared charger cradle with three remotes, an iPod cradle remote and two charging (USB) cables which Lett used to teach his classes.

“They’re personal items that I use to teach. They’re not university items or state property,” Lett said. “So it’s my loss; the university’s not going to cover that.”

The theft made it difficult to prepare and teach classes, Lett said. Without appropriate music, Lett resorted to using Pandora on his phone until he was given an old iPod donated by a student.
However, the classes still ran into difficulties. The iPod battery did not last after his first three-hour class without a charger, Lett said.

Lett’s office was the most target recent in a string of thefts that occurred in the Clayes Performing Arts Center.

One theft was reported Monday, Aug. 24; in that case, an Apple trackpad, valued at $69, was stolen. Another theft was reported Monday, Aug. 31; that theft involved a stolen Macbook, a GoPro camera and Apple earbuds, the items are valued at $1,593.57, Willey said.

All thefts showed no sign of forced entry.

“Because they happened very closely together in the same area under the same circumstances, sure that would leave you to believe that they may be connected,” Willey said.

“Since then, faculty are now taking backpacks to class and purses and wallets to class when we thought all we needed to do was take our dance clothes and a sweat towel and our class roster,” Lett said.

The Clayes Performing Arts Center is not patrolled by University Police as often as Lett would like.

CSUF’s open campus makes patrolling and securing areas difficult and University Police must also deal with other issues, such as recent vehicle break-ins, Willey said. However, the succession of thefts at the Clayes Performing Arts Center forces police to focus on the area.

“We are stepping up,” Willey said. “When we start seeing patterns like this, obviously, we’re real good about directing our enforcement in areas where there’s a concern.”

But the lack of forced entry signs during the break-ins has left Lett concerned.

“It’s just one of those things that you buck up and you suck up and you just say, ‘I expected more from my Titan family,’” Lett said.

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