Multiple student groups victim to break-ins on campus in the past few months

Student groups that have had recent incidents include Embark, Out On Campus, and The Peak

Photo courtesy of Abbotsford News

Written by: Paige Riding, Staff Writer

Embark, Out On Campus (OOC), and The Peak’s offices have all been subject to break-ins and petty theft over the past few months. 

Ashley Brooks, Out On Campus coordinator, found out about the break-in on April 3, shortly after the SFSS Board of Directors voted on temporary closures of SFSS operations in the wake of the pandemic. He elaborated on their office’s damages and losses in an email to The Peak.

“I visited the space a few days afterwards and found the place in quite a mess and it was clear that they were looking through our storage for items or money to take. A number of items were taken, including our wheeled luggage case, weighted blanket, cleaning products, tissues, and some petty cash that was intended to be donated to the SFSS Food Bank program,” he wrote.

“As well, our internal door was damaged, requiring us to lock the external door, restricting access to the free safer sex supplies, menstrual products, and informational pamphlets in our vestibule for students still on campus.”

Brooks continued to note that the person destroyed craft supplies in OOC’s lounge by relieving themself in that space. 

“There is no evidence that this was a hate-related incident. Rather, it seems that the pandemic created an opportunity — and, perhaps, a necessity — to steal vital supplies from our lounge. With this in mind, I’m practicing empathy. Ultimately, we have budgeted for replacement items and will soon be moving to the SUB, where we will be far more integrated into the rest of the SFSS and better protected against thefts in the future,” Brooks concluded.

Executive Director of Embark Ali White also provided a statement about Embark’s instances of break-ins beginning last summer and continuing into recent months.

“Last summer we had an expensive camera stolen from one of our desk drawers, so we changed the door code and kept the number internal to Embark staff only. At this time, we did not file a report with Safety & Risk Services (SRS), and replaced the camera as we had immediate need for one,” White began.

In another instance, White noted a projector being stolen from the same office despite this door code change. The organization did file a report with SRS at this time which was met with a suggestion to contact the police. Embark chose not to do so.

In the past few months, White reported signs of rummaging in desk drawers. She noted that a staff member had a $5 bill and some other small items in her drawer that went missing. While they have removed valuable items from the office, White still has “some concern about safety when occasionally accessing the space during COVID.” Embark continues to work with SRS at this time.

The Peak’s office faced a break-in near the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Editor-in-Chief Marco Ovies commented on the event.

“It was unfortunate that The Peak office was broken into but nothing valuable had been stolen, aside from a few non-perishable food items. It looked like the person was just searching for some food and I hope they have access to whatever resources they need now,” Ovies said.