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MUPD says no kidnapping, refers students who circulated messages for charges

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MUPD says no kidnapping, refers students who circulated messages for charges

Photo by Wire Stock Photo.

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Photo by Wire Stock Photo.

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Recent group chat messages claiming there were attempted kidnappings on campus were found not to be credible, Marquette University Police Department Capt. Jeff Kranz said.

The messages began circulating among students Thursday night, and the messages advised people not to walk alone on campus.

“We took every piece of information that came to our attention over these past few days and treated it as if it was not a false incident,” Kranz said. “There was no kidnapping. There was no attempted kidnapping.”

Kranz said MUPD responded to a call at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday regarding a suspicious incident near 17th and Wells streets. He said the situation involved two subjects who left the area in different directions.

“A prompt investigation turned up no evidence or victim of a crime, and the subjects involved could not be located,” Kranz said in an email.

University spokesperson Chris Stolarski reiterated that MUPD has found no credible evidence to validate the “inaccurate information being circulated on campus regarding safety issues.”

“MUPD’s investigations revealed that multiple individuals have made false reports to MUPD and circulated false information around campus about safety situations that never actually occurred,” Stolarski said in an email. “Lying to a law enforcement officer is a serious offense, and these individuals may face disorderly conduct charges through the criminal justice system.”

Kranz said no false police reports were filed with MUPD.

The MUPD daily logs show two recent incidents of disorderly conduct. The first occurred Friday at 10 p.m. and was reported at 11:30 p.m. The second incident occurred Saturday shortly after 2:30 a.m. and was reported around 1:45 p.m. In each incident description, it states that a Marquette student sent a group chat message that was shared throughout the university in several group chats and social media posts.

The logs said these incidents caused “a panic and increased concern for safety among MU students and parents.”

In both cases, the logs said MUPD arrested each student and ordered each student to be referred for charges at the district attorney’s office. However, Kranz said MUPD did not arrest any students, but did refer charges to the district attorney’s office.

Kranz said he could not confirm whether the disorderly conduct charges in the daily logs were directly related to the kidnapping messages being circulated.

Kranz said the department tracked the subjects who disseminated messages about kidnappings on campus.

“A lot of resources were expended on this,” Kranz said.

He said the referrals for charges will go to the district attorney’s office today. He said typically decisions are made by the district attorney’s office the day of the referral, but he said the decision could end up pending for a week or so.

Kranz said the department was contacted by concerned students and parents since the messages about kidnapping began to circulate.

“We’re concerned when we’re seeing this stuff,” Kranz said. “Our concern is to make people feel safe.”

If there is an active threat to campus, Kranz said a safety alert is sent to students, faculty and staff. This would first come in the form of a text notification, followed by an email with additional information.

Stolarski said 80 trained public safety professionals work consistently to prevent and respond to incidents. He said MUPD’s safety infrastructure includes more than 1,100 cameras, 450 BlueLight emergency phones, a command center, a campus-wide text alert system, EagleEye safety app and a nationally recognized student safety program.

University statements are posted in residence halls informing students that the circulated messages are not credible.

Anyone with information about the circulated messages or alleged incidents should contact MUPD at 414-288-6800.

This story was updated March 4 at 11:32 p.m.

 

This is one variation of the message circulating in group chats over the weekend.

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