EU police talk library suspicious person incident

Category:  News
Monday, March 15th, 2021 at 5:32 PM

Edinboro University students, staff, and the greater community remain on alert following a reported suspicious person seen in and out of campus buildings on Feb. 20.

The initial incident involved a student working at Baron-Forness Library. According to EU Police Department Lt. Eric Kraus, the student filed a report with campus police regarding an interaction with an unknown man in the library while she was working.

“He (the unknown man) inquired about places to eat dinner and asked if she wanted to join him. She declined. The male subject was told the library was closing and he left the building without incident,” said Kraus. “After closing, a co-worker transported the complainant to her vehicle, which was parked in another lot. They again saw what they believed to be the individual driving a dark colored sedan. He drove past the lot they were in and then immediately left.”

Kraus added that the two students then drove to the campus police station to file a report and officers were dispatched immediately while the desk officer was taking additional information. He said the male subject was reportedly seen in downtown Edinboro shortly after the report was filed.

Kraus noted there is “no information indicating this is related to human trafficking,” which was a possibility raised in social media posts about the incident.

Notably, a Facebook post circulated in the community group “Edinboro Neighbors” as a warning to other students and community members. It’s been shared 213 times since.

EU Chief of Police Angela Vincent sent an email to the EU campus community three days after the library incident occurred. The email reads, in part:

“Campus police received a report of a suspicious person on campus last weekend. An investigation was initiated and is ongoing.

At this time there is no threat to the campus community or to the safety of our faculty, staff and students. That being said, as always, we are advising all students, faculty and staff to remain vigilant.”

Kraus said since the library incident, campus police has investigated nine separate calls regarding suspicious activity on campus. All nine calls were “deemed unfounded or delayed reports of people reading social media posts and reporting things they have seen or, in some cases, reporting on individuals who walk the campus several times a week.” He noted three of the calls were for the same person who is known “as an individual who plays ‘Pokémon’ and walks miles on and around the campus regularly.”

Echoing Vincent’s email though, Kraus said the investigation is ongoing and all suspicious activity reports will be investigated when received.

Discussing whether campus police are trained to handle these types of incidents (suspicious people, potential human trafficking), Kraus said, “Edinboro University officers are fully commissioned, sworn law enforcement officers and are trained the same as their municipal colleagues.” He continued: “University police officers here at EU respond to over 12,000 calls for service each year and endeavor to maintain a safe campus for all students, visitors, staff and faculty we serve.”

Kraus encouraged all students, faculty and staff to monitor information released by campus police and “immediately report to police any suspicious activity while it is being observed.” He added that EU is an open campus, so community members, potential students and visiting family members are regularly around, but that “being observant at all times and making responsible decisions will greatly decrease the possibility of victimization, not only on campus but also in any community.”

Any information regarding campus community safety will be released via the EU Shield app and email. Students, staff and faculty can download the EU Shield app through the Apple and Google Play stores.

Campus police can be reached at (814) 732-2921, or for emergencies at (814) 732-2911.

Kimberly Firestine is a graduate assistant for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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