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Alert possible false alarm

Suspicious activity was afoot on Friday, or so one student thought.

The VSU police department was notified by a student that a male in a blue windbreaker was asking students to see student IDs by the Bailey Science Center.

Thressea Boyd, assistant to the president for communications, sent out a mass e-mail alert to faculty, staff and students at 1:40 p.m., informing them of the activity and urging them to contact the police department if they had any questions or concerns about the matter.

The person the student caller saw is believed to have been VSUPD Officer Mike Browning, who was investigating a theft that occurred on Dec. 16, Scott Doner, VSUPD Chief, said.

After seeing the student’s report and noticing the timing of the two events, Browning told his supervisor that he remembered asking a student for his ID when he was investigating the theft and believes he might have been the person the caller reported, Major Ann Farmer said.

No related activity was reported that day.

While the incident turned out to be non-threatening, Doner felt the email alert was beneficial.

“It was still good that the message went out because if it had not been legitimate then we would have had something,” he said.

Doner said suspicious activity has been reported in the past.

“Occasionally we will get magazine salespeople out here…somebody trying to do some kind of scam and sometimes [people] don’t always report things to us and by not reporting things to us in a timely fashion, we get there and it’s too late and the scam or the fraud has already happened,” Doner said.

The police department would like to inform students, staff and faculty to report anything they see or encounter that might not be genuine.

“We want to let people know, if you see something suspicious call us and we will check it out and find out if it is legitimate or not. In return, if we know of something going on, we [will] try to put stuff out,” Doner said.

If more information arises about the incident, either an addendum will be posted to the VSUPD website or Boyd will send out a follow-up email.

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