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Police Beat: The highlights of 2019-20

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Tom Price | The Daily Wildcat

A UA Police Car sits just off of Park Ave. on Oct. 1, 2015.

A university campus is the ultimate place to find bizarre cases, and this past year has proved exactly this. The Daily Wildcat's Police Beat has seen a diverse cast of characters these past one and a half semesters, with cases ranging from paintball fights to fraternity brawls all the way to reports of a couple having sex in the library. We love writing Police Beat as much as you love reading it, so we’ve compiled the best cases from this year for your enjoyment. 

Couch Candle - Police Beat 3/4/2020 

Let’s admit it, we all have a little bit of pyromaniac in us. Lighting little things on fire every once in a while can be a weird little guilty pleasure. Most of us know pretty well, on the other hand, that lighting furniture on fire probably is a very bad idea, especially if you decide to do it with a firecracker. 

According to the police report, two officers were dispatched to Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall on the evening of Feb. 13 in reference to a couch that was or had been burning on the fourth floor. No smoke alarm or smoke was observed when they walked in, but there was a small couch sitting in the hallway with a red solo cup sitting on it, liquid under the couch, and a burnt spot that was 3-6 inches wide where the back of the couch connected with the seat. When the officers entered the hall they observed two pieces of a “bottle rocket” on the ground at the east end of the hall where a seating area was; the couch was from this seating area. The firecracker had been angled to shoot down the hall but had malfunctioned and the main charge had not been activated.

When Tucson Fire Department arrived, a small firecracker was found stuck between the cushion and backrest of the couch with no active smoke but definite burnt residue where the firecracker had been inserted. One of the officers spoke with the residents who lived adjacent to where the incident had occurred. Both reported hearing a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot and had come out of their room to see smoke coming from the chair, but no one in sight. One of the residents took a video of the aftermath, which she provided to the police officer. Neither of them had any idea who had set it off or where they had gone. 

The incident was turned over to a University of Arizona Police Department detective and the individuals who set off the firecracker have still not been found at this time. 

Birthday suit surprise - Police Beat 9/18/2019

Do you ever drive home from work with no memory of how you got there? Well this case is exactly like that, except this man did not drive, he jumped a fence and home was actually a pool and he was naked when the cops found him. So, really nothing like that.

UAPD officers arrived at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center at around 1:30 a.m. after an alarm went off on Sept. 7. The officers split up to search the area.

One of the officers spotted a naked man running near the west side of the pool, according to the report. She ordered him to stop and lie on the ground, which he did.

She handcuffed him while he identified himself. At first, he told the officer that he was an employee, before saying he was a student and then later saying he worked in the Honors Village. 

The officers located his clothing and helped him dress. The man was slightly damp when he was initially apprehended.

The man told the officers he had been drinking on Fourth Avenue earlier in the night and had no idea how he had gotten to campus or the pool, though he suspected he jumped over the fence.

An officer took the man to Pima County Jail, where he was booked on one charge of criminal trespassing.

Studying hard - Police Beat 11/27/2019

Honestly, it’s amazing that Police Beat has gone at least two years without an entry about a couple (possibly) having sex in the library. But now that streak is broken.

When two University of Arizona Police Department officers arrived at the Main Library at around 2 a.m. on Nov. 12, they spoke with a library employee who told them that she had caught two people engaging in sexual activity in one of the study rooms. 

The employee told the officers she had been performing a security check of the third floor study rooms when she spotted the pair. The woman was reportedly sitting in a chair, with her face near the man’s pelvic area and was moving her head “back and forth,” according to the employee. The man had his hands on the woman’s head and had his back to the door, the employee further reported.

After making eye contact with the man, the employee quickly walked away. When the pair tried to leave the study room, the employee stopped them and told them that the police were coming, so they could not leave.

When asked, the employee said that she had not seen the man’s penis, but that she was going to be a “witness” and “victim of sexual behavior,” according to the report.

One of the officers then went to speak with the couple, who were sitting on a nearby stairwell. The officer spoke with the woman first, who showed him that she was a UA student.

The woman told the officer that the employee had detained her and her boyfriend when the two were about to take a study break and get food. She also told the couple that the police were on their way.

The student said the employee thought she and her boyfriend were having sex, but that it was a misunderstanding. She then showed the officer she had been sitting backwards in the chair, with her knees on the seat. Her boyfriend had been standing behind her, rubbing her back.

When the officer asked her straight out if they had been having oral sex, the woman told him they had not. She also told him that her boyfriend had never removed his pants, after the officer asked about that as well.

The officer then spoke with the man. The man also said the employee thought he and his girlfriend were engaging in sexual activity in the study room but that they had not been. His retelling of the events matched his girlfriend’s story, in that he said he had been giving her a massage as she kneeled on the chair, according to the report.

Based on the information the officers gathered, no arrests were made. 

Tunnel Cinderella - Police Beat 11/13/2019

A UAPD officer went on a scavenger hunt for several items that surely have an interesting — and possibly disturbing — story behind them. 

Police received a call about suspicious items possibly located in the Olive Tunnel under Speedway Boulevard on Oct. 28. An officer checked the area but did not find anything.

The officer then inspected the Warren Avenue Tunnel and found the items, which included a woman’s tank top with blood on it, a silver platter that also had blood on it, a picture of a woman, two high heeled shoes, two more shoes, a makeup tool and a photo memorial card.

According to the officer’s reporter, the blood on the shirt and platter was minimal and appeared dried and like it had been on the items for a while.

He asked a man in the surrounding area if he had seen the items or knew they were there, but the man said he had not.

A second officer later found similarly strange items in the same tunnel, including a red backpack with VHS tapes inside. The backpack also appeared to have some dried blood on it. 

All of the items were entered into the station’s Found Property.

Preach: Get Punched - Police Beat 3/4/2020

If you go to the University of Arizona, I’m sure you saw the viral video of the man being punched on the UA Mall a few weeks ago. I remember seeing it and wondering what could have made this this outcome occur, as it didn’t seem like there was any real story. Turns out there really wasn’t. 

According to the police report, on Feb. 12 an officer was dispatched to the south side of the Administration building on campus near the Mall. He reported a large crowd of over 100 people gathered around a man who was shouting from inside the circle. The crowd was verbally interacting with the man in a rowdy manner. The officer decided to enter the inner part of the circle, and as he did, he heard “oooohh” from behind him. When he turned around, he found the individual that had been preaching stumbling as another man was retracting his arm. The man that had been preaching started shouting about being assaulted and the student that had punched him was placed in handcuffs.

When interviewing the man who had been preaching, he said he had “cordial conversation” with the student that punched him both today and yesterday and didn’t seem to be sure what provoked the closed-fist swing that had knocked his sunglasses to the ground. He stated he did not want to press charges, but was concerned for his $225 Ray-Bans and wanted them replaced since they were now scratched. 

There was never any resolution except for the accounts of two witnesses and multiple video recordings, but the student’s reason for punching the man remains a mystery. 

Sorority secrets swiped - Police Beat 11/7/2019

It was invasion of the banner snatchers at the Sigma Kappa Sorority house, with a book of sorority rituals almost being lost in the process.

A University of Arizona Police Department officer arrived at the Sigma Kappa sorority house on the morning of Oct. 24 and spoke with the sorority president. She told the officer about a theft that had occurred the night before. 

Last night, the house received some unexpected — and unwelcome — visitors in the form of a swarm of fraternity brothers from Arizona State University scaling the sorority’s north wall. The men jumped the fence and made their way through an unlocked patio door.

They took two banners advertising philanthropy events hanging on the house walls. They also entered the house and stole the sorority’s ritual book that had been placed on a table in the middle of the entrance area of the house, as well as one more banner for good measure.

The whole affair had been captured on security camera footage.

The men eventually came back and returned the book and a banner to the inside of the house. The sorority members later found the other two banners on the front porch that morning. There was also a piece of notebook paper with a heart drawn on it near the banners.

According to the sorority president, the returned banners were worth approximately $15 total and the book was valued at $100.

She told the officer that the Sigma Kappa sisters had learned that the men were pledges of the Chi Phi fraternity at ASU via Snapchat. One of the sisters saw videos that another member of the fraternity had posted but since taken down. When the sorority president reached out to the fraternity president on social media, she didn’t receive a response.

The sorority president also reported that other sorority houses had their banners vandalized, though none had sent her security footage to confirm it. She said the sorority did not want to press charges; however, their national organization requested that the incident be documented.

When asked, the sorority resident confirmed that none of the house residents reported anything stolen. The officer advised her to ensure the patio doors were locked, to which she replied that they will stay locked until a fingerprint reader can be installed.


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