Cal State Fullerton students arrested for stealing golf cart

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Police car parked at the university police department
(Riley McDougall / Daily Titan) University police responded to an assault and battery call near Ruby Gerontology Center on Oct. 18.

A group of Cal State Fullerton students stole an athletics department golf cart from the Kinesiology and Health Science building on Oct. 5 and were arrested by University Police.

Scot Willey, University Police captain, described the incident:

The students drove the golf cart into the interior campus around midnight. When the campus police began following them, the group fled toward La Vista High School.

“They didn’t rig any wires or anything like that, they stuck a key in that worked, that was it,” he said.

After crashing into a barricade, the group fled on foot into the local neighborhoods. Three arrests were made by the Fullerton Police Department after a call from the University Police. The driver was charged with a felony.

The golf cart was worth around $12,000, Willey said.  

“Three of them were booked down at Orange County jail on 10-8-51, which is a felony stolen vehicle,” Willey said.

In addition to being charged with a stolen vehicle, the three males were also charged with obstruction of a police officer and petty theft, according to the University Police Crime Log.

“People think they’re just pulling a prank or something, (but) a cart is considered a vehicle. So if you steal a cart, it’s just like stealing a car. It’s treated just the same,” Willey said.

The case has been given to the Dean of Students office, Willey said.

The University Police Department has made a total of 15 arrests in the month of October. There were misdemeanor arrests that resulted in citations and one felony arrest, according to the crime log.

Arrests were a result of the 2,469 incidents University Police has responded to this month.

The University Police Department average about 500 or more arrests per year. Willey said that probably “99.9 percent” of those are not involving students, faculty or staff.

“We are very safe here and the crime is a very low crime rate when you look at it overall,” Willey said.

On Oct. 18 an assault and battery incident occurred near the Ruby Gerontology Center.

Willey described the incident:

“One of the Cal State Fullerton Parking and Transportation officers was driving in her Cal State Fullerton parking truck in the Ruby Gerontology Center parking lot at about 9:35 in the morning and a subject in a grey Volkswagen sedan stopped behind her,” Willey said. “She tried to wave the person around. As the person started driving around her the male subject that was inside threw a styrofoam Chick-fil-A cup at her and hit the side of her body and he drove away.”  

The victim of the assault and battery did not know the person in the vehicle and does not know what motivation they would have had to behave the way they did toward her.

“We took the case as a misdemeanor assault and tried to go over cameras and everything but we were not able to come up with anything yet for a suspect,” Willey said.

The Parking and Transportation officer described the subject as a 20-year-old male with a beard driving either a grey Volkswagen Passat or Jetta. The vehicle had dealership license plates, making it difficult to identify the subject.

“It is very important to remember that we are never safe from criminals. There are always going to be people out there that want to take what you have or take advantage of you in a certain way,” Willey said.

This sort of crime is considered by Willey a rare incident on the CSUF campus.

“We will get assault cases here and there, domestic violence, stalking-type cases and occasionally we get our sexual assault cases but those are not common,” Willey said.

The university’s motorcycle police have also given 20 traffic-related citations.

Some of the other reports University Police has responded to include: investigating a suspicious person, responding to burglary alarms and answering disturbance calls.

Willey said he wants to remind students how important it is to remain aware and understand how quickly a situation can change.

“That whole thought that we are all Titans and no one is going to take anything from us and we can trust everyone around us because we are all here for the same reasons. We have to get out of that mindset,” Willey said.

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