Cornell Police said on Monday that officers have recovered more than 100 stolen items after arresting two people and charging them each with a felony for allegedly carrying out a string of backpack thefts last week and renting a $336 hotel room with a student’s stolen debit card.
More than $12,000 in computers, cash, bank cards, headphones, jewelry and other valuables were reported stolen on Thursday, according to an updated version of the campus crime log posted on Monday.
Police arrested April M. Mace, 31, of Savona, and Richard E. Huyler, 39, of Corning, at The Hotel Ithaca in downtown Ithaca on Friday night and charged them each with criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a class E felony, according to a felony complaint filed in Ithaca City Court on Monday.
A Cornell senior said in a sworn statement to University police that a representative from her bank called on Friday morning and told her someone had used her debit card to rent a $336 hotel room from The Hotel Ithaca the previous night.
“I did not give permission for anyone to make purchases with my debit card,” the student wrote in the statement, noting that the bank representative also relayed that the student’s card was used for a $6 purchase at Starbucks.
Cornell Police Officer Raymond Schweiger said in a statement that he confronted the other suspect, Huyler, outside of the same hotel and found someone else’s driver’s license and credit/debit card in Huyler’s back pocket.
The name on the cards Schweiger said he found in Huyler’s pocket is the same as a person who had reported them stolen to CUPD, the officer said.
A Cornell spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests on Monday attempting to confirm that Mace was a lead supervisor employed at Cornell for about nine years.
Mace says on her Facebook and LinkedIn profiles that she worked at Cornell beginning in 2005 and supervised more than 100 full-time and student employees, assisted in payroll management and helped open five dining halls.
“I start my new job Monday,” Mace wrote in a public Facebook post in November 2014. “Bad news is that I will be leaving Cornell, I will miss everybody the employees and the students !!!”
The items reported stolen include seven computers, driver’s licenses, passports, debit and credit cards, jewelry, two pairs of headphones, clothes, keys, textbooks and cigarettes.
Cornell Police are working through more than 100 pieces of recovered property, logging and processing them into their system before officers begin contacting victims to verify ownership, although it may be a while before students get their things back, authorities said.
“Evidence must be held until it is released by the prosecutor or a judge,” Deputy Chief David Honan said in an email. “We will be working closely with victims and Cornell’s crisis management team to assist students impacted by these crimes.”
Students and other community members reported to police that more than a dozen backpacks were stolen from multiple locations around Cornell on Thursday including from The Carl A. Kroch Library, Willard Straight Hall, Helen Newman Hall, Noyes Community Center, Statler Hall and Olin Library.
Some backpacks were taken while students attended a lecture in Kroch Library, according to the professor who brought her class to the lecture.
“All the students were writing papers for me on those laptops, and those students were having a genuine Cornell-only learning experience at the archives, which is a really special part of Cornell,” Prof. Masha Raskolnikov previously told The Sun. “These people took advantage of how people are super trusting in this special place of learning.”
Huyler was remanded to the Tompkins County Jail on Friday without the option for bail and Mace is being held at the jail in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or $6,000 bond. Both will be back in court later this week, CUPD said.