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This item originally appeared in the Jan. 15, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.

By HILLARY EDMAN

Staff Writer

Tech has experienced two criminal acts in the last two months.

The Ruston Police Department has arrested Lucas Allen McLaughlin, 18, of Ruston, in conjunction with a Dec. 17 attempted robbery.

The crime was reported at 10:55 p.m. between the Band Building and Woodard Hall.

Two suspects, one armed with a gun, attempted to rob the victim and demanded cash.

"We had one on-campus and seven off-campus robberies," Tech Police Chief Stephen Quinnelly, said.

"Enough evidence has developed to officially charge McLaughlin with our attempted robbery."

Also, a car jacking was reported at 11 p.m. Nov. 1 at Tech Drive and Railroad Avenue.

Four males driving a burgundy Ford Crown Victoria bumped the victim's car and robbed the victim of his cash and vehicle. The suspects were armed with guns.

The victim's car was found in Shreveport. The crime is being investigated by the Shreveport and Louisiana Tech police departments.

Crimestoppers will pay up to $800 for information leading to an arrest in this crime.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or others should call Tech police at 257-4018.

Despite the two incidents, Quinnelly said crime on Tech's campus averages zero to three occurrences a year.

"We have a low incidence of serious crime," Quinnelly said. "However, we are not immune to criminal activity."

Quinnelly said even though these types of crimes are rare to Tech's campus, students and faculty should be aware of the possibilities.

"[Tech police] still want to make people aware when crimes [occur] so [students and faculty] can take crime prevention steps," Quinnelly said.

"One of the ways we can help combat the instances of crime that we do have is informing the public through the routine notification of crime in Crimestoppers and in sending out a criminal activity notification memo," Quinnelly said.

These memos are sent out to each department and department head stating, "Please make the faculty, staff, and students in your department or area aware of the following criminal activity."

Quinnelly encourages students to use the golf cart escort service or Tech's emergency phones, located on campus.

"[The emergency phones] are not just to report an emergency," Quinnelly said. "They are to request any type of police service."

Quinnelly also said the police are always watching one of the many camera lenses on campus. He said currently there are 10 outside cameras. There are also 14 cameras in Tolliver Hall and 12 in the Student Center.

Tech police also have a minimum of two patrol cars every day as well as patrolling golf carts and officers on bike and foot.

Quinnelly said crime is not a big problem at Tech, but it should never be overlooked.

"We encourage people to call us and report suspicious people and activity," he said. "We would rather you call and not need us than not call at all."

Nikki Pennington, 17, of Ruston, and Santiago Delmuro, 26, of Modera, Calif., were also apprehended and charged in connection with a string of off-campus armed robberies.

Quinnelly said McLaughlin is being held in the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. He has been charged with four counts of armed robbery, and the on-campus attempted robbery will be added to those charges.

Quinnelly said, "I'm really proud of the patrol officers of Tech's police department and the Ruston Police Department for solving the case and working so well together."


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