The Montclair State University Police Department sent out an advisory in January after receiving two similar solicitation reports.
The most recent report was submitted by the mother of a student with special needs. Her son was tricked into handing over his ATM card to an unknown male outside of the Student Center selling Airhead candies.
The unknown male proceeded to force the special needs student to go to an ATM located inside the Student Center and enter his pin number. The thief made him take out $800, and he later fled the scene.
The first report said two unknown males, potentially students, were attempting to sell Airhead candies out of their backpacks for $2 each outside of the Student Center.
A student approached the males wanting to buy candy. As the student reached for their wallet, the males surrounded the student in an “intimidating” manner. Feeling threatened for safety, he handed over $100 in cash to the males.
Sophomore linguistics major Mary Hubbard was shocked and saddened by the news of these incidents occurring.
“I’ve never felt unsafe on this campus, but this certainly makes me question it,” Hubbard said. “It’s shameful that people think it is okay to take advantage of students with special needs.”
Capt. Kieran Barrett of the University Police Department said in a written statement that while the second report was received in January, the actual incident occurred back in November of 2017, nearly two months prior.
Senior psychology major Megan Lubrecht believes these incidents may be the result of easy access to campus along with lack of student knowledge in regards to suspicious activity.
“It makes me wonder if these unidentified people are students or just people entering campus since our campus is open to all,” Lubrecht said. “I also think it’s crazy that these events occurred weeks ago, and I never heard about it. I think we should be more educated on what’s happening on our campus so we can stay safe.”
Barrett’s statement also included that the University Police Department sent a reminder to the community to describe who can sell items on campus and who is an approved vendor.
Undeclared sophomore Jenna Gambino believes that surveillance should promptly be installed around banking systems on campus.
“It’s scary to think that something like this can happen at any time,” Gambino said. “I believe that there should be a camera near all ATM machines and that everyone on campus should be informed about this event.”
Barrett concluded his written statement by saying that the detective bureau is actively investigating the cases and is considering them to be theft by deception.
There is no further information released at this time.