ARC thief caught

Thomas J. Zakos arrested in at least two thefts last month

Thefts in the ARC locker rooms were reported in January.
Thefts in the ARC locker rooms were reported in January.

After 10 locker thefts were reported in the Queen’s Centre in the past month, Kingston police have arrested and charged a suspect for his involvement in at least two of the thefts.

According to the Kingston Police Force (KPF), Thomas J. Zakos, a 23-year-old Kingston resident, was arrested on Jan. 29 for the crimes. He attended a bail hearing on Jan. 30.

The thefts, which occurred between Jan. 11 and Jan. 29, were from lockers in change rooms of the Queen’s Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC).

Zakos was released under an undertaking, where he is obliged to attend a future court date and abide by specific conditions, including not entering property owned by Queen’s University.

Items recovered during his arrest have been returned to their owners, according to the KPF.

KPF Media Relations Officer Steve Koopman said, in his knowledge, the locks were cut in the majority of cases by what appears to be a bolt cutter or a similar tool.

“That is the easiest, with a pair of bolt cutters, it snaps them quickly, and as long as you have a decent sized backpack you can normally hide them pretty easily,” he said.

Koopman said the items stolen included electronic items, cash, and in one instance the keys of a vehicle, which were used to access the vehicle and steal more items.

The police used geolocation applications to track the stolen items and arrest the suspect, he said.

“In terms of smart phones and computer device’s ability to geolocate we were able to get to a location,” Koopman said.

After that, the police detectives were able to arrest the accused by using CCTV footage provided by Campus Security and their knowledge of the area.

“Our detectives in the General Crime Unit have a very good knowledge of the people living in that area that are commonly

known to commit crimes such as theft and breaking and entering,” he said.

He said one of the items that was stolen was put on the auction website Kijiji, which police used track down the person responsible.

Zakos may be responsible for more than the two thefts he has been charged with, Koopman said, but police don’t have reasonable grounds to lay further charges at this point.

“We need to be careful not to accuse someone without having proof of something we can convict them of,” he said.

He said the police will continue to speak with people who have had items stolen and look through the CCTV footage to see if more charges can be laid on Zakos or if someone else was involved.

Koopman said Campus Security and the KPF collaborated on the case together.

“The supervisors are always in touch with the general crime detectives … they provide us with the CCTV camera video for us to assess and analyze, and use to identify the accused,” he said.

If Zakos returns to Queen’s campus, he would be stopped by Campus Security and arrested, Koopman said.

“He’s on a criminal conviction, so that’s automatically an arrestable offense.

“He’d be brought back to jail and charged with breaking his undertaking,” he said.

On a preventative level, he said, Queen’s students should look out for anyone looking suspicious in the change rooms, and buy higher quality locks if they’re keeping expensive items in a locker.

“If you’ve got an iPhone, an iMac, expensive items, it’s worth it to spend

$15 to 20 on a higher end lock,” he said.

He added that students should watch for people who don’t seem to be using the facility who are loitering in the locker area or accessing more than one locker.

Anyone with specific information related to the investigation is asked to contact Detective Scott Huffman at 613-549-4660 ext. 6322 or via email at shuffman@kpf.ca.

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