Santa Catalina Residence Hall tenant and first-year student Richard Vu was arrested Sunday night and charged with two counts of petty theft and one count of possession of stolen property.
The UCSB Police Department responded to a call on Sunday night at around 9:30 p.m. from Santa Catalina residents Catherine Binford, a first-year undeclared major, and Richard Fontaine, a first-year political science major, claiming Vu had stolen their iPhones from their rooms Saturday night. Police released Vu from custody yesterday after he posted the $2,500 bail.
UCPD Sergeant Tony Borrayo said police found three stolen phones — including Binford and Fontaine’s — after arriving at Vu’s room on the eighth floor of South Tower.
Vu’s roommate, first-year Mathew David, first noticed the abundance of iPhones in one of Vu’s drawers and alerted Binford and Fontaine.
According to Binford’s roommate Ava Morton, a first-year anthropology and art major, the crimes occurred between 12:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. Morton said the phone was stolen when Vu knocked on the door and entered the room that night.
“I was sitting on my bed when he came in and knocked over the 7UP bottle onto my desk,” Morton said. “When I was trying to clean it up, I had my back turned and he must have taken Catherine’s phone off her charger.”
Binford said she felt disconcerted with Vu’s proximity a few rooms away from her.
“I have been living with the people on my floor for 23 weeks,” Binford said. “I guess you never know who you can trust. I am definitely going to be more cautious with who I let into my room.”
According to Binford, Vu left the room and met up with her and a group of other residents to watch the film The Color of Friendship. Binford said Vu followed the group into Fontaine’s room and immediately laid down on Fontaine’s bed.
The residents realized Vu was intoxicated and asked him to return to his room, according to Binford.
Binford said she noticed the missing phone the next morning, though Vu denied any connection.
“I tried to ask him if he might have accidentally grabbed it, but he kind of avoided the question and mumbled,” Binford said. “It did not really help much, but I still had a feeling that he had my phone.”