A convicted sex offender who purposely cut off his ankle monitor and fled his residence has still not been found by authorities and is considered a cause for concern by campus police and safety organizations.
Robert Lee Moone, 54, an unemployed offender whose residence is in the North Campus area, violated terms of his parole after breaching his ankle monitor last Wednesday. Moone is a lifetime registrant for multiple burglaries of habitation with intent to commit sex offenses and is considered to be highly dangerous.
Darrell Halstead, UT Police Department officer, said students, faculty and staff should be aware of their surroundings and assume that Moone is still in the Austin area.
“When you’re walking to class or riding your bike, take your earbuds out so you can hear someone approaching behind you,” Halstead said. “Avoid areas that make you feel uncomfortable and, if confronted, go back to the last place you felt safe.”
Halstead said students should not confront Moone if they spot him and should instead get on the phone and report the sighting to the authorities.
“As citizens of Austin, they need to have common sense, report suspicious people or activity and be a little bit more sensitive to what’s going on around them without causing mass panic or chaos because each person’s perceptions are different than your own,” Halstead said.
Public relations senior Hooff Cooksey, director of SURE Walk, a volunteer group that walks students safely to and from campus, said in a situation like this, he would urge students more than ever to always walk with multiple friends, whether they are on or off campus.
“If ever a person should find themselves in an uncomfortable situation or without a few trusted friends, SURE Walk is available to provide that needed trust and security in numbers,” Cooksey said.
Sergeant Laura Davis, state director for the Rape Aggression Defense Program and coordinator and instructor for the UTPD RAD program, said RAD discusses crime prevention, dating, traveling and other personal safety.
“We want to increase the students’ personal safety knowledge, encourage empowerment and inform students of the options available to them,” Davis said. “The last day of the program includes a simulation of specifically designed scenarios where students have the opportunity to utilize their skills in a safe environment.”
Anthropology senior Catherine Sauer said although the news of Moone’s parole violation makes her nervous, she does not think it is something to be worried about.
“I’ll try to be more aware of my surroundings, but at the same time there’s bad people everywhere so I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” Sauer said.
Update on 04/10/12 at 12:55 p.m.: added mugshot