By CHELSEA FLEISCHMAN
For the second time in just over a month, Peter Pietrandrea, ’13, had his car stolen from the Phi Kappa Psi parking lot late last Friday night.
The car was eventually recovered in Vernon Township and returned to its owner.
Pietrandrea reported his 2005 Mazda 3 stolen at 2:50 a.m. after his friend, Zach Restelli, ’14, saw it accelerating down East College Street with its headlights off.
“I went to his room, knocked on his door and said ‘someone stole your car,’” Restelli said. “He just said, ‘Again? I just took it to McDonald’s an hour ago.’”
This was the second time Pietrandrea’s car was stolen in the past month. He also reported it stolen on August 31. It was later recovered at the Meadville Medical Center.
There are still no known suspects.
Pietrandrea said he first noticed his keys missing and the car locked on the Saturday prior to the first incident.
He assumed that the keys were locked in the car and had his father mail him the spare set.
When he woke up for work Wednesday morning, the car was gone.
Director of Safety and Security Jeff Schneider said that he believes the most likely suspect is an acquaintance or a friend playing tricks.
“History shows us that people who steal cars, if they leave the car there, they don’t take the keys with them unless they’re planning on using them again or the vehicle is kept,” Schneider said. “This leads us to believe that there is some familiarity involved.”
Schneider said that most crimes committed on campus are student-on-student crimes.
“You rarely see non-college affiliates doing these things,” he said.
There’s now a large dent in Pietrandrea’s car.
In the first incident, two of his tennis rackets were stolen from the backseat and the parking stickers scraped off.
He also found lip gloss in the backseat and a set of keys, which he turned in to police, after the second incident.
Both Pietrandrea and Restelli doubt Schneider’s assessment that the perpetrator is a student.
“The car had mud and grass all over it, like someone was driving on dirt roads and doing doughnuts in a field,” he said. “Allegheny students would not do that, I feel.”
“Judging by what happened and how the car was just left somewhere, it seems that it was a non-student,” Restelli said.
Assistant Chief of Meadville Police Thomas Licinski said there are no new developments on the case.
“There are no suspects at this point,” he said. “Obviously someone grabbed his keys, he failed to change anything, the ignition or the keys, so it would happen again.”
Pietrandrea said that changing the locks would have cost him roughly $1,000. Instead, he bought a manual steering wheel lock.
In response to the thefts, security is placing additional lighting in the Phi Kappa Psi parking lot.
Schneider said that despite warnings, students continue to leave valuables in their cars, or leave them unlocked.
He also said that campus theft rates have been consistent over the past few years.
Since his arrival in June 2010, televisions, furniture, and computers have been stolen from various campus buildings, primarily the Campus Center.
According to Schneider, two students were recently discovered carrying a couch from the Campus Center.
Although it was returned, another couch was reported stolen one week later.
He said that incidents such as these prompted the proposal for a Closed Circuit Television system.
That proposal is still under consideration.