Student Tip Leads to Arrest of Campus ‘Frequent Flier’
Posted February 8, 2012 | Atlanta, GA
Since the start of the semester, Georgia Tech police have trumpeted four words to the campus community in a request for its assistance: See Something? Say Something.
As part of Campus Safety Day, the Georgia Tech Police Department placed this ad in the Technique to call attention to repeat offenders who are frequently seen on Tech's campus. Students, faculty and staff are asked to be on the lookout and always report any suspicious activity to GTPD.
On Friday, a student obliged, approaching an officer outside the College of Architecture to point out a suspicious male nearby. The officer located the male and was able to identify him as repeat offender Tony Jackson, who had been released from prison just four days prior after serving a five-year sentence for thefts committed at Georgia Tech. When located, Jackson had a laptop he had just stolen from inside the College of Architecture, and was then arrested.
“I was on central campus detail on foot and a student approached me and advised that he had seen someone acting suspicious,” said Georgia Tech Police Officer John Clifford. Jackson had been looking in classroom windows and walking around and, perhaps most suspiciously, was seen with a laptop after being seen without one minutes before. Clifford said that without the student’s assistance, Jackson might have gotten away.
“It was very helpful – I wouldn’t have known about it because it wasn’t in my zone but I was close enough to be able to respond,” he said.
This would be the first of two repeat offenders caught and arrested for on-campus incidents over the weekend. The second came Sunday afternoon when four students reported articles stolen from an unattended room on the third floor of the Student Center. Police were able to track the article via one phone’s GPS, leading them to the BP station on North Avenue. Officers located the suspect, who was injured in an attempt to flee, and placed him under arrest.
“The whole thing was handled in about 30 minutes,” said Marcela Moreno, whose belongings were among those taken. “It was handled really well, and the police were nice and not condescending about the fact that we’d just left our stuff in the room.”
Both these incidents resulted in quick resolution, but investigations sometimes extend longer in the effort to bring criminals to justice. In January, GTPD closed a case on an August incident near the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging on Marietta Street. Blood was recovered at the scene where items were stolen from a vehicle, and GTPD worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to trace it to repeat offender Curtis Henry, extending the length of his “statecation” already being served for other crimes.
From June 2011 to January 2012, GTPD closed 30 cases through its investigations division. Six were related to incidents in the Student Center, with four being larceny committed by known recurring offenders (or, as denoted by Tech police, "frequent fliers") on campus.
GTPD asks that students, faculty and staff continue to be vigilant in protecting themselves and others by alerting police if something seems suspicious. The department will host Campus Safety Day on Friday, Feb. 10, to increase education and awareness among the campus community.