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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAPD makes arrest in on-campus burglary case

Jesus Barrera

Students walk by the Gould Simpson building on Tuesday, Nov. 24. UAPD arrested Zachary M. Figueroa on Tuesday, Nov. 10 in response to the Oct. 27 burglary of the building.

The University of Arizona Police Department arrested a suspect, Zachary M. Figueroa, on Nov. 10 in response to the Oct. 27 burglary of the Gould-Simpson building, according to a campus watch bulletin. The suspect was identified through community tips provided to UAPD.

The burglary was reported on Oct. 30 when employees in the building noticed items missing from a storage unit, according to the police report.

The surveillance footage from the building showed a man using a cart to take items from the building to his car on Oct. 27. UAPD later posted a campus watch about the incident, asking for tips from the community to identify the suspect.

The list of missing items included batteries, hammer drills, microscopes and a compass, according to the police report. The total value of these items was estimated to be almost $29,000.

The report also stated that Figueroa tried to take some of these items to pawn shops.

Mark Baker, a senior research specialist and lab manager in the geosciences department, was one individual who provided police with tips about the suspect. Baker said that he and a colleague noticed a wheel cart in the wrong place.

According to the police report, the suspect was a former UA student and a former employee in the Gould-Simpson building. Baker said this information helped current employees recognize the man and send a tip to the police.

Having a former student or employee involved in a campus crime isn’t completely out of the ordinary.

UAPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Filbert Barrera explained that, while it isn’t common, it does happen.

“If you can imagine, we have 42,000 students and roughly 15,000 employees,” Barrera said. “From time to time, things are going to come up missing, and from time to time, it’s not going to always be external people who are responsible.”

Figueroa was arrested on three counts of burglary, one count of fheft and four counts of trafficking in stolen property, according to Barrera. Some of the stolen items have yet to be found.

Baker said that it has been a while since there has been theft of this level at Gould-Simpson.

“I’m sure that over the years something has been taken,” Baker said. “Occasionally, you’d hear about somebody losing a wallet that they left on a desk, but nothing as significant as this.”

Briggs Carhart, a sophomore studying neuroscience and cognitive science, has done research at Gould-Simpson since May 2015. He explained the new lab policies that have been implemented in response to the theft.

“Usually, the labs in Gould-Simpson—because we’ve never really had this problem before—are sort of lax when people are around,” Carhart said. “It’s not like people are watching every single room and every single item at every second. But definitely afterwards it was instructed to make sure things are stored correctly and nothing’s left out, just to make sure anyone walking by doesn’t snag anything. We are very mindful of that now.”

He explained that the crime happened during business hours, and the thief did not look unusual. Carhart said he thinks that it’s important that people know who they are working with in their lab to prevent such a crime from happening again.

“You don’t realize what things could happen until they actually happen. So we’re just keeping an eye out,” Carhart said. “Hopefully this new stuff will help, which I think it will.”

Follow Ava Garcia on Twitter.

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