By Jennifer Artino
Many of you may be wondering, who is this panhandler or where will he strike next?
After further investigation, most student were not aware that campus police were actively looking for an unwanted visitor. Stephen Dove, age 49, has been captured thanks to campus police and students located at the West Campus! Several incidents were reported of Dove smooth–talking students with a sob story such as his daughter being at Rainbow Babies and needing gas money or a ride to get there.
Students reported that he was a down-to-earth guy and chose his words carefully. He would ask for large amounts of money and would mainly target individuals that were religious.
Dove would usually ask students to drive him to rural areas riddled with crime. In addition, students were not safe with Dove because of his criminal record and with outstanding active warrants, according to Lt. Moreland.
Lieutenant Alliston Moreland and Corporal Dan Heglaw from the Western campus received a notice from a student with a sighting of the panhandler on Sept. 1, 2015.
A willing student from the West campus actually gave Dove a ride to Willoughby. During their ride, the student received a call from his girlfriend and this is when he found out that Dove was a wanted criminal. The student stayed on the phone and his girlfriend was able to communicate with campus police, and they were able to follow where Dove was taking the unsuspecting student. The Lieutenant and Corporal raced to the gas station in Willoughby where the student was parked in his car and trapped Dove behind the Cracker Barrel off I-91, and Dove was caught and arrested.
Though some students came forward saying they had encountered the panhandler, while others might have felt too embarrassed to say anything. Campus police are hoping more students come forward to file reports if they encountered Stephen Dove.
The reports will be used for additional charges against Dove and could be used even months down the road. He is being charged for theft by deception at the Western Campus as well as in the City of South Euclid.
Stephen Dove had been going to several other places such as, Giant Eagle, Walgreens, Notre Dame College, and even local hotels and shopping malls. Anywhere that was heavily populated, he would find a way to scam someone. Officials believe that Dove’s actions were just short of being a con artist. Apparently, he had no real reason to explain his actions.
Campus police are hopeful that any students who might have encountered Dove to notify them by calling or visiting campus police to file a report.
Campus Police and Security offer a free safety course referred to as A.L.I.C.E. The name stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Classes and seminars are available to all students, faculty, and staff members and can help prepare individuals in situations that could possibly arise, such as a case of a violent intruder or even an armed criminal.
Students, faculty and staff members can locate additional class information by checking MyTri-C Space or the Dean of Students office.