Two men were arrested on Mansfield road last Friday in possession of a plastic bag containing the Play Station 3 and accompanying paraphernalia of the New College JCR.
The men in question were already wanted by Thames Valley Police on a number of charges of burglary and are due to serve four and a half months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing the games console before a magistrate on Tuesday.
The men gained entrance to the JCR through the door which according to the JCR Vice-President Louie Dane “was routinely left on the latch; although obviously now that’s going to change”.
The burglary might have been a success where it not for the “heroic” exploits of former conference and events manager Steven McGlynn. Smelling a rat as the two thieves left the college carrying the suspiciously Play Station shaped bag, McGlynn promptly informed the police.
The pair were arrested ten minutes later as a Community Support Officer cut the suspects off on Mansfield Road.
JCR Vice President Louie Dane said: “This incident ought to serve as a wake-up call to other colleges who I urge to review their security arrangements. While the CCTV system and presence of the porters should be enough to stop incidents of this kind without the vigilance of college members things could have been different, and thus we are going to much more attention to the security of the JCR and games cabinet in the future.
“Although New College’s medieval fortifications no longer serve as well as they used to, if these two men were willing and able to breach a 1000 year-old city wall just to steal the JCR’s console it is not to be doubted that other thieves would not have even the slightest trouble breaking into significantly punier colleges.”
Steven McGlyyn, described in an email by Dane as “persistently heroic” said: “Although it’s rather flattering to have been described as ‘heroic’, I must stress that it was really was a team effort – from the Porters who quickly responded to my call, the passing PCSOs who followed the suspects, the police team who were fast and efficient in collecting together the evidence and handling the case, and our staff who were able to gather the relevant images from CCTV.
“In terms of identifying the man walking off with our PS3: I would say I’m familiar with most of our academic, students and staff, and having been in similar situations before, you sort of know when something isn’t quite right and someone is acting strangely. I just did what any other person would do.”
Mef Badali-Magtalo, a second year History and Russian student at New college expressed his disgust with the attempted theft: “Whoever attempted to do this is the paradigm of moral turpitude without a thought for other people. What did he think I would do in my spare time without FIFA? How did he think he could get away with this? I can only compare the culprit to the chewing-gum that I scrape off my shoes in the morning. Despicable.”