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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Crime

No rivalry between UHPD, Rice cops


Despite a seasoned sports rivalry between the Cougars and the Rice Owls, UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis and Rice Chief Bill Taylor often call upon each other’s departments for information and advice.

Davis said this communication between the two universities came into play Jan. 22.

A UH professor reported missing a general use Panasonic Toughbook owned by the University on Jan. 22 at around 2 p.m. Professors rather than students predominantly use the computer.

About three hours later, UHPD received a call from Rice PD.

“They told us they had a suspicious person call. (That person) was not affiliated with Rice, so (a Rice officer) gave him a criminal trespass warning,” UHPD Assistant Chief Brad Wigtil said. “As he started packing up his things, the officer’s suspicions were aroused because students typically wouldn’t have a Toughbook.”

After further inspection, the Rice officer saw a UH identification sticker on the computer. When the officer contacted UHPD, he discovered the identification numbers on the computer matched the missing one.

The suspect claimed he purchased it at a local pawn shop.

After checking several pawn shops in the area, UHPD confirmed the computer was the one reported missing by the professor, allowing UHPD to press charges.

A felony arrest warrant has been issued for the suspect, Dayquan Thomas, a Houston man.

Theft statutes in Texas are determined by the value of the item stolen. Because the Panasonic Toughbook is worth more than $3000, this crime is considered a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Police said they are hoping Thomas will run into a situation where the warrant will be enforced.

“The good things about warrants are when they get entered — and if this person is ever stopped for a traffic stop or in suspicious circumstances — the officer will be alerted (if) there are active warrants for this person,” Wigtil said.

Police have no further information on the suspect.

UHPD also depends on larger law enforcement agencies to share or exchange information and help solve cases. These agencies include, but are not limited to, HPD, police from HISD and TSU, Metro and constables from Precinct 7.

“When we share information and work together, it unlocks a lot of potential to make Houston a safer community,” Wigtil said. “On a regular basis, we call on these agencies for their resources, and they call on us when they have certain issues.”

UHPD hopes to continue this relationship of active correspondence between other law enforcement agencies to keep UH, the Houston area and other local universities safe.


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