Officers arrested a Boston man Friday for a larceny at Hemenway Gym, and a weekend investigation linked the than to several other thefts at the athletic facility near the Law School, University police said yesterday.
According to police statistics, $501 in each and property has been stolen in six thefts at Hemenway since January. An additional $1684 has been reported missing in 32 incidents at other athletic facilities, including the IAB, Blodgett Pool, Dillon Fieldhouse, and Bright Hockey Center.
Officers apprehended Vance B. Copeland after a monitor at Hemenway said the man used a reportedly stolen University identification card to enter the building. Lt. Francis P. Shannon said yesterday. The 20-year-old man fled on foot when the officers arrived and was eventually captured on Prescott St., Shannon added.
After a strip search, police found two watches and $259 in Copeland's sock, Shannon said. He added that Copeland told police during his processing at the police station that he had several other items from Hemenway at his home in Boston.
Shannon said a search of Copeland's room over the weekend uncovered watches and wallets stolen in other thefts at the gym.
Saul L. Chafin, chief of University police, said yesterday that "it would be hard to stop the thefts entirely" at the various athletic facilities.
The problem, Chafin said, is preventing the initial theft that gives a criminal an identification card and access to the facilities "They steal wallets containing an ID and they keep them and come back on campus and flash them," he said.
Chafin said Copeland was wearing stolen clothing with Harvard markings in addition to carrying stolen identification.
Although his department does not control the monitors assigned to check identification at the facilities. Chafin said he saw no need to improve security personnel at the gyms and pools. Security guards may not be the answer he said.
Chafin added that prevention by patrons was probably the best way to end the thefts. "You don't bring $300 cash into a facility and leave it in a locker."