CrimeNews

Three-year investigation leads to arrest of University janitor in theft cases



It was in 2009 when police suspect Thomas Morgan, Jr., a University janitor, began stealing electronics from the University Science Library.  On Monday, April 9, Morgan was arrested by Eugene police after the Department of Public Safety investigation revealed he had likely stolen more than $10,000 worth of property.

Video game consoles, games, iPads and assorted electronics were gradually taken from the Science Library and the Ford Alumni Center during the past three years. Although Morgan has worked at the University since June 2004, the first reported burglary was in December 2009, with the most recent on April 2, 2012. @@http://police.uoregon.edu/@@

The electronics are available for checkout from the Science Library for students or University-affiliated people.

“They would discover things missing when they were doing inventories,” DPS Officer Royce Myers said. “They would also discover things missing when they went to go check something out.” @@http://uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/Royce*[email protected]@

Even after security measures had been taken to secure the items, electronics still were disappearing.

“That led us to believe it was someone associated with the school who knew the building and the campus in general,” Myers said. “(Someone) who knew that stuff was down there.”

Although not a lot of details have been released about the investigation, DPS used a number of tactics to arrest Morgan.

“It was a combination of surveillance, electronic investigation and good, old-fashioned police work that got us there,” Myers said.

After the arrest was made, the search warrant for Morgan’s house unveiled that he had kept most of the stolen property.

“This is the second-biggest property crime that we’ve had on campus since I’ve been here,” Myers said.

Another factor that helped DPS target Morgan was the inter-agency cooperation with the Eugene Police Department.

“We had concluded our investigation and turned over all our information, and that was the basis for the search warrant,” Myers said.

“Working with DPS is not a new thing for us, this is just probably a higher level and one of the larger cases that we’ve seen with them,” EPD spokesperson Jenna McCulley said. “We just provided a resource when they had investigatory questions, and then we also partnered with them in writing the search warrant.”

Because DPS is still not an official police force, it personally cannot write its own search warrants.

“It was a good opportunity to work collaboratively and provide them a little more experience,” McCulley said.

Morgan’s employment is currently suspended during the investigation, although he did not spend any time in any jail facility. He has been cited and charged with theft 1, burglary 2 and official misconduct.

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Becky Metrick

Becky Metrick