Police arrest suspects in string of on-campus instrument robberies
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Police arrest suspects in string of on-campus instrument robberies

A sign warns students of repeated thefts in the storage locker area of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center over the past few weeks. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.
A sign warns students of repeated thefts in the storage locker area of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center over the past few weeks. Photo by Naomi Guttman ’16.

The St. Paul Police Department arrested two suspects in connection with multiple robberies of musical instruments out of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center over the past few weeks.

According to the latest reports from the Pioneer Press, two suspects were arrested for the thefts last Friday and were identified as Michael Joseph Lippert, 33, and Nicole Marie Korolchuk, 29. Macalester’s Campus Safety and Security office filed a report with the information on Nov. 15, making the names available to the Macalester community. The duo was already wanted for other musical instrument thefts at Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas, and thefts from open houses in the neighborhood

In the first case at Macalester, three saxophones were reported stolen, two of which belonged to the college and another of which belonged to a student. The instruments were taken from both locked and unlocked lockers, though it is unclear how the thieves opened the locked ones since they had no visible signs of damage.

The second case involved a unique bass viola da gamba that was reported missing, adding to the police incident report that the college had already opened.

Director of Campus Safety and Security Terry Gorman said that the duo already had a long rap sheet of offenses, and that they were presumably experienced enough to know how to scope out an area and plan out their actions.

Gorman believes that the thefts occurred during the late afternoon and early evening during rehearsal times for various music programs.

Of the two suspects, a man and a woman, Gorman said that “the woman looked like she could have easily been a college student.”

The college provided specific information to the police about each of the instruments, such as serial numbers, and police alerted several pawn shops to be on the lookout for the instruments.

Police apprehended Lippert and Korolchuk in Richfield after the duo had already pawned several of the instruments at different pawn shops.

Police identified the duo after matching the duo’s drivers license information, which are required to be presented at the pawn shops, with shop surveillance videos.

Gorman said that the college community has been very fortunate that many of the students take the issue of campus security seriously.

Throughout the semester, students reported tips and information to his office. Gorman suggests that student can also protect their belongings from theft by utilizing a service where students can create a personal inventory and informally register items such as computers and musical instruments on a Google document.

The online form can be found on the main webpage for Campus Safety and Security and can provide the office and the police department with detailed information on stolen items.
Gorman reminds students to continue to be vigilant and to remember, “if they see something, say something.”

November 22, 2013

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