By DOUG CURLEE | Mission Times Courier
Someone — or several someones — seem to have a desire to own the street sign for Lambda Drive in Del Cerro.
A nearby resident has seen at least two thefts and one attempted theft, and she has suspects in mind — she thinks it’s an ongoing effort by San Diego State fraternity brothers, or perhaps pledges, looking to qualify for membership.
“At this point, I’m 100% convinced this is fraternity related,” she said.
Veronica (we’re not using her last name, because she knows the thieves saw her watching their efforts, and thinks retribution is a possibility) said the attempted robberies of her neighborhood streets happens late at night or very early in the morning.
Is it in fact what she thinks it is?
Is it someone who just collects Greek names?
What other possibilities are there?
Veronica notes it’s happened three times, all seemingly around the time school opens for the year, and fraternities are rushing pledges, and vice versa. The latest street sign robbery attempt occurred in the early hours of Aug. 19.
Veronica and her husband heard noises at 2 a.m., went outside and saw someone trying to pry off the street signs at Lambda Drive and Theta Place with a crowbar. The thieves sped off in a large truck, and even tried to return but sped off again when they saw Veronica and her husband still up and on their porch.
There appears to be only one fraternity at SDSU with Lambda in its name, and it appears to be on inactive status, which doesn’t mean it’s gone away — just unsanctioned. There are four fraternities with Theta in their name.
The sign has been replaced by the city twice. And a third replacement is now on order because the attempted robbery left the sign post bent and is an eyesore for the neighborhood.
“This needs to be investigated, as this is grand theft” Veronica said.
Well, it may be, but so far, San Diego Police aren’t going out in SWAT gear to take down the crooks.
“I checked with the Crime Statistics people here, and there is no report on file about any such crime” said SDPD media relations chief Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.
So it’s not now being investigated as a heavy crime — and it’s not likely to be, unless another attempt is made, and someone is hurt.
Landon Santacroce of the city Public Works department thinks this is at best, vandalism.
“We know it’s happened, and we’ll replace the sign again as it comes up in the repair and replacement schedule,” he said. “It’s certainly not the only such case in the city. People tend to steal street signs for any number of reasons, and we often don’t know why.”
Veronica’s energetic campaign has gotten the attention of City Council member Scott Sherman’s office and they’re looking to see if police could increase patrols around the area.
We checked with Fraternity Row, the umbrella organization for Greek life on campus, to see if any word had filtered up to them. We were told there was no one available to talk with us about it, or when anyone might be available.
So, that’s where it stands right now — a mystery that no one seems to have answers to.
Of course, there’s a slight possibility of other suspects — it should be noted, in the interest of total gender equality, there is a sorority on campus that also has Lambda in its name, and two with Theta.
Just food for thought.
— Doug Curlee is a longtime San Diego reporter in both print and television. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.