University Police arrested a USF freshman on Monday and charged him with burglary of an occupied structure and petty theft. Sgt. Mike Klingebiel, spokesman for UP, said Mark Raymond Bryan is also a suspect in other cases of burglary and theft on campus.
UP reports show 15 cases of burglary and theft of personal property that have occurred since January. The property stolen included items such as textbooks, purses and cell phones.Klingebiel said Cpl. Andrew Caffarelli arrested Bryan on campus at 4:43 p.m. Monday, after another officer came in contact with Bryan, who fit a description of the suspected burglar given to police from a resident.
John Benner, a resident in Holly D, said when he was coming out of his shower Monday morning, he saw a 6-foot white male, whom he said he believes was Bryan. Benner said he was not wearing his glasses, but he could tell the guy wasn’t supposed to be there.
“It obviously wasn’t a roommate, and I could tell he didn’t belong,” Benner said. “I reported it around 10:55. I thought this could be the second or third dorm he had hit.”
Benner said his roommate’s phone was stolen, and they reported that to UP as well.
When Caffarelli came in contact with Bryan, Klingebiel said the officer noticed a bulge in Bryan’s pocket, patted him down and found a cell phone that was reported stolen earlier that day.
“We knew it was (my roommate’s) phone because it had ‘I love cheese’ written on it,” Benner said.
In addition, Klingebiel said Bryan was in possession of marijuana and a fraudulent driver’s license for which he was also charged.
Klingebiel said after the arrest was made, UP transported Bryan to the Hillsborough County jail at Orient Point and then obtained a search warrant to search Bryan’s room in Beta Hall.
Klingebiel said some items were recovered that matched the items reported stolen in previous theft and burglary cases. Police are investigating the case further, he said.
“The investigation is ongoing to determine if they are the stolen items,” Klingebiel said. “We are waiting to see if he is charged with the particular post-search items.”
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office’s Web site, Bryan was released from jail. Bryan could not be reached for comment.
Bryan’s roommate, Louis Paleveea, said the two of them had talked but he did not know whether Bryan was responsible for the actions of burglary and theft.
“I never actually seen him do any of them (actions),” Paleveea said. “He brought in an Xbox and a Playstation 2 once and said he bought it from a pawn shop.”
Klingebiel said students are usually not aware of theft and crime prevention during this time of year because students are concentrating on midterms and also because spring break is approaching.
“Toward midterms and finals students are more focused on their studies than on crime prevention,” Klingebiel said.
“Residents don’t think they are victims at all until they say, ‘Hey, my cell phone is missing.'”
Klingebiel said it is important that when students see something suspicious to report it to UP such as Benner did in this case.
“That was a good example of being a good witness and relaying the information,” Klingebiel said.
Tom Kane, director for Residence Services, said he heard about the incident Tuesday afternoon, and Bryan was removed from the residence halls.
“We needed to get him out of the building,” said Kane.
If Bryan is found not guilty, he will be allowed to live on campus again, Kane said.
Until then, Kane said, it is Bryan’s responsibility to find housing off campus.
“(He will relocate) off campus. I don’t really know. But that’s not my problem,” Kane said.
While UP investigates, Klingebiel said Student Affairs is responsible for deciding Bryan’s punishment from the university.
“They determine if immediate action needs to be taken against him,” Klingebiel said. “They can wait for the outcome, but they don’t have to wait.”
Tom Miller, dean of students, said Student Affairs has not received enough information on the criminal report to determine if Bryan should be expelled or suspended, and they usually like to wait until they know the student is responsible for the crime before taking these actions.
Miller said Anthony Joiner, dean for Student Judicial Services, will meet with Bryan and talk with him before making a decision.
“The conversation gets the student’s response to the allocation of the charge and see why did it occur and what were the forces,” Miller said. “It gives flesh and helps us understand whether or not it was a threat to the university. But we do not adjudicate any crime.”
Miller said the student’s comments are weighed with the effect the crime had on the residential environment, for example, if any residents were in danger or harmed.
“We understand this is a serious set allocation, and we will treat it that way,” Miller said.
- Contact Grace Agostin