University Police (UP) arrested a man on campus Thursday following a search prompted by an on-campus burglary last week.
With the help of the University community, UP arrested non-student Rion Baker, who has six prior arrests on his record, at the Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) after three people called in response to a community crime alert sent out Wednesday.
Baker was arrested for loitering and prowling and resisting or opposing a law enforcement officer without violence at about 6 p.m. Following his arrest, UP also charged Baker with a burglary from a previous offense he is suspected of committing.
“When we put out the community alert, he matched the likeness to the photographs attached to it,” UP spokesman Lt. Christopher Daniel said.
Baker was found loitering in the FMHI complex, which is located on the northwest side of campus.
Daniel said Baker tried to flee on foot.
“(The cops) chased him across Fletcher Avenue, and he gave up on the west side of Fletcher on the sidewalk,” Daniel said. “He’s suspected of a number of thefts in that area.”
He said he “could not identify” what Baker had stolen.
“He would try to go (into buildings), and his method of operation was acting like he was lost or he was supposed to be there for an appointment if he was confronted by someone … then go through the offices files,” Daniel said.
UP has arrested Baker two times before, and has been arrested twice by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and twice by the Tampa Police Department for various crimes like petty theft, possession of cannabis, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer and trespassing.
“It was an excellent example of how the USF community pulls together,” Daniel said. “We’re very pleased not only in his arrest, but the fact that somebody took the time to let us know that they saw him.”
Community alerts were sent to USF Talk and USF News, which Daniel said UP uses to send mass information to the Tampa Bay community and USF students. Baker is suspected in several other office burglaries and thefts that are still under investigation.