On May 3, three suspects were convicted in a case of kidnapping and robbery that occurred in the Nutwood Parking Structure in Fall 2017, said CSUF University Police Capt. Scot Willey.
At about 2:00 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2017 an 18-year-old male student met with the kidnappers for what University Police officers believe may have been a drug deal gone wrong, Willey said.
The male student had arrangements to meet with 18-year-old student Samantha Lujan, Willey said.
“When they met he noticed there was a carload of males with (Lujan) and they said, ‘Come on get in the car, let’s go party,’” Willey said.
When the male student got in the car his mouth was covered and he was grabbed by the waist. Willey said Kevin Quijas, 23, held the student down to the point where he almost couldn’t breathe.
The car took off and drove into a parking lot near the Nutwood structure. Willey said Austin Rich, 19, removed the student’s wallet and robbed him of a couple hundred dollars.
“He was definitely in fear for his life. For some reason they decided to let him out right there,” Willey said.
The student returned to the parking structure and called 911. University Police was not able to locate the kidnappers at that time.
All three perpetrators were arrested later in the student housing area after investigations were conducted by University Police, Willey said.
Lujan pled guilty to second degree robbery and received one year in jail, as well as three years of formal probation, Willey said.
Rich pled guilty to second degree robbery and false imprisonment by force or fear and received one year in jail and five years of formal probation, Willey said.
Quijas pled guilty to second degree robbery and false imprisonment by means of force or fear. He violated a preexisting probation and was sentenced to three years in state prison, Willey said.
In an attempt to combat bike thefts on campus, University Police has put into effect a bait bike program.
The bike, which is owned by the University Police Department, is equipped with a GPS tracking device as well as geofence technology. Geofence technology creates a virtual boundary that is triggered when removed from the radius of interest. Willey said two of the six deployments of the bike have resulted in an arrest.
On Dec. 8, 2017, the first bait bike deployment was successful in facilitating an arrest. Willey said detectives put the bike in the student housing area, knowing it was a common place for bikes to be stolen.
At 5:15 a.m., dispatchers saw a male take off on the bike heading eastbound on Nutwood Avenue, Willey said.
Officers stopped the male at Nutwood Avenue and Placentia Boulevard, and took him into custody with no injuries or use of force, Willey said.
Anthony Fender, 27, was charged with petty theft and additional charges for possessing narcotics, burglary tools and controlled substance paraphernalia, as well as petty theft with a prior conviction, Willey said.
“In a nutshell he described himself as a heroin addict, and (stealing bikes) was one way that he kept up with his addiction,” Willey said.
On March 6, at about 8:45 p.m., Willey said the bait bike resulted in a second arrest near the Carl’s Jr. by Mihaylo Hall.
Dispatchers were alerted to the bike’s movement and officers were sent out to State College Boulevard and Chapman Avenue. Jessie Alvarez, 22-year-old, was taken into custody at the Mobil gas station near Smart & Final.
Alvarez also identified as a heroin addict and had hypodermic needles in his pocket containing heroin, as well as spoons, foil and cigarette lighters.
He was charged with petty theft and possession of controlled substances, controlled substance paraphernalia and burglary tools, Willey said.
Both Alvarez and Fender were non-students.
“In jails and out in the streets, what they do is they talk. When bad guys start talking they’ll tell each other that Cal State Fullerton has bait bikes out, so don’t go out there and steal bikes,” Willey said.
The University Police Department recently upgraded the bait bike to be worth over $1,000, which will result in a felony charge for anyone caught stealing it.
Crime has significantly decreased in several areas from fall 2017 to now.
Willey said University Police do see a spike in DUIs over the summer, which may be a result of officers having more time to patrol off campus.
Officers have seen a recent increase in drug-related arrests made during the night shift. Willey said most of these cases are non-student related and represent what University Police are trying to keep out of CSUF.
He also said the number of bike thefts that occur are higher toward the end of the spring semester and the beginning of fall semester.
From fall through spring, University Police had about 30,000 incidents, which included around 10,000 calls for services and about 20,000 officer initiated calls, Willey said.
In 2017, five new officers were in training to join the University Police Department. The officers went through six months at the police academy and four months of field training with University Police.
“By the end of 2017, most of those officers were just coming out of training and are now out on their own,” Willey said.
University Police currently has 30 officers, the maximum number its department is allowed, Willey said.