Yesterday, John Meerts, Wesleyan’s VP for Finance and Administration, sent an all-campus email with some sobering news, informing the community that an officer with Wesleyan’s Public Safety Department had been arrested for theft.
I spoke with Dave Meyer, Director of Public Safety, yesterday afternoon to clarify the situation, though our conversation was limited by the ongoing criminal investigation.
Meyer reported that he received information before Christmas regarding the thefts. Coordinating with the Middletown Police Department, Wesleyan began an investigation within two days that resulted in the recovery of a number of stolen items, at which point Wesleyan again contacted the police to have the individual arrested. The stolen items themselves—reported to be electronics and cameras—have so far consisted solely of administrative equipment, though there is the possibility that student property may be among the as-yet-unidentified possessions.
Declining to discuss the particulars of the tip or the discovery of the stolen material, Meyer stated that though the investigation was conducted internally, the school worked closely with the police department throughout. Meyer added that while there was no indication that the employee had any previous criminal history (Public Safety officers submit to interviews and thorough background checks), department hiring policies would be reviewed. A replacement officer has not yet been found.
Meyer closed by highlighting the gravity of the infraction, emphasizing that he and other members of the department had been stunned by the revelations and immediately taken action to remedy the situation.
Meerts’ email is copied below:
Earlier today the Middletown Police arrested a former employee of Wesleyan Public safety for theft. Through its own investigation late last month, Public Safety had determined that the employee, acting alone, had stolen items from campus locations. The employee was fired and the matter turned over to the Middletown Police Department. Any abuse of trust at Wesleyan is troubling for our community, but this matter is now appropriately in the hands of Connecticut’s judicial system.
Update from Zach: The Public Safety officer in question has been confirmed to be Rogelio Figueroa of Newtown, CT. In an Argus article, Meyer called the theft “the most unsettling thing that’s ever happened in my 33 years here,” which is interesting, considering his 33 years have included a murder, a suicide, a firebombing, police brutality, and dozens of protests.