Officers arrest theft suspect

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By Stephen Burgers
City Times

A man was arrested in Curran Plaza on suspicion of theft on April 18 at 5 p.m. The observations of a City student led to the man’s apprehension after she said she saw him stealing a laptop that had been momentarily left unattended by a student purchasing food.

On April 11, Andrea Lee Heaton, a City College nursing student, was studying in the cafeteria. She said she noticed a disheveled man who didn’t appear to be a student walking from table to table and thought it was strange.

David Kniffin, a psychology student, was studying at a table next to her and using his new laptop computer. Kniffin said he decided he wanted a coffee and walked to get some, leaving the laptop for what he thought would be a few moments. The other man moved quickly by walking over, closing the laptop, wrapping the cord around it and placing it in his knapsack. Heaton, in an attempt to stop the thief, questioned him, asking, “Is that your laptop?”

She said he didn’t respond but quickly walked from the cafeteria. Heaton called the campus police. Kniffin returned with his coffee and found his computer had been stolen. Kniffin and Heaton both gave a statement to the campus police describing the event.

Heaton and Kniffin said they were upset by the theft of the laptop and they felt it violated the collegiate ethic and boundaries. Kniffin purchased a replacement laptop this week for more than $800. He said the stolen computer had a term paper and a lot of other important information saved on it.

Heaton said she saw the man who stole the computer again on April 18 and she went to the cafeteria because she thought she might find Kniffin and she did. He and this reporter where discussing our Psychology 161 class and his new computer. She explained she saw the man who had taken the laptop and that he was relaxing down on Curran Plaza.

Kniffin immediately called Campus Police and reported the information. A quick response to Curran Plaza by Officer Jane Obara and Officer Lokeni Porter lead to the arrest. Campus police then contacted the San Diego Police Department who transported the man to the County Jail. The man who was arrested is on parole and was staying at Father Joes’ homeless shelter.

This isn’t the first time Heaton has helped a student in need. Last spring she was among a few students who administered CPR to a student who was having a heart attack on the floor of the dinning area. The quick action of Heaton and the other students saved the life of fellow student Thomas Avame. She and the other students were given an award for the life saving heroism.

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