Joy ride and stolen credit card case serves as BYU campus cautionary tale

Many cars are left unlocked while on BYU campus, making them easy targets for theft.

It’s easy to feel safe at BYU, and both students and employees sometimes don’t feel it’s necessary to lock their doors while on campus. But this can lead to trouble.

Back in September police arrested a man for taking a car from off of campus and using a credit card he found inside the car to make purchases for himself. Police arrested a 25-year-old Georgia man who allegedly entered BYU campus and found an unlocked parked car with the key still inside. He drove away in the car, which belonged to BYU.

He was in possession of the car for several hours. During that time he used a BYU credit card, that was also left in the car, to make 10 different purchases that totaled more than $1,100.

After the joyride he returned the car to another parking lot on the BYU campus. Police identified and interviewed him shortly after. Police found the keys to the vehicle, along with multiple gift cards that were purchased with the credit card.

According to the BYU Annual Security report for 2013, there were 30 burglaries and five motor vehicle thefts on the BYU campus between the years 2010 and 2012. To contrast this, the University of Utah reported 218 burglaries but no motor vehicle thefts during the same time period.

“People feel like BYU is safer than a normal university, but that doesn’t mean it is,” said Albany Williams, a former student and full-time employee on campus.

Police charged the man with unauthorized control of a vehicle, unlawful possession of a financial transaction card and unlawful use of a transaction card. The state dismissed the charge of unlawful possession of a financial transaction card, and the suspect pleaded guilty to the two lesser charges in November.

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