Students arrested for larceny

By Michelle Williams

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009, two University of Massachusetts students were arrested on numerous charges including larceny of university property.

Matthew Cody Burgess, 19 of Cohasset, MA, was arrested for the larceny of a vehicle and disorderly conduct, and Edward F.  Wolfersdorf, 20, East Quogue, NY was arrested for the larceny of a vehicle, disorderly conduct, destruction of over $250 dollars worth of property, leaving the scene of property damage, and leaving the scene of personal injury.

The two students stole a yellow 2002 Global Electric Motorcar from the Physical Plant at 360 Campus Center Way.

According to Deputy Chief Patrick Archibald, there is minimal security placed on the Global Electric Motorcars which are only a little over eight feet in length and about four-and-a-half feet in width, and when the emergency brake is not in place, the motorcars are easily pushed up the ramp of the Physical Plant.

The car was driven down Orchard Hill into the metal guardrail along the New Africa House at 180 Infirmary Way.

The yellow GE Motorcar was totaled and the damaged guardrail was repaired Tuesday. Though damage estimates were not released by press time, the cost of a new GEM car is approximately $8,400. Both have been charged with larceny of a vehicle, and as the driver, Wolfersdorf was charged with destruction of over $250 worth of property.

After crashing the car, both students fled the scene bruised and bleeding. Both went back to their rooms. When found by the UMass Police Department, both refused medical treatment for their minor injuries.

The Global Electric Motorcar was towed by Ernie’s Towing in Amherst.

Ernie’s Towing’s driver was perplexed as to why the students would steal a research car.

“It was hard to imagine why the boys would believe it was a good idea to steal that car. It smashed like a soda can when it hit the railing,” he said.

On Burgess’ Facebook page, he set his status to “Matthew Burgess is [expletive deleted]…” on September 23, the afternoon after he was arrested, to which one individual asked “WTF happened man” and another replied “Gin.”

Two days after the incident, on Wolfersdorf’s birthday, Burgess posted on his Facebook wall. “yo ted happy bday killer. This [expletive] will work itself out we just gotta stay in contact and figure it out. in the mean time take it easy brotha.”

Wolfersdorf and Burgess were required to leave the campus and have returned home. As both face disorderly conduct and larceny of a vehicle, Burgess and Wolfersdorf could face up to 36 months in Massachusetts prison, depending on their prior records. On November 3, the two men have an arraignment trial in the Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, Mass. It is unknown how they plan to plea.

Due to the students facing felony charges, Burgess and Wolfersdorf will stand before the Disciplinary Hearing Board.

Executive Director of News and Media Relations of UMass Ed Blaguszewski said that students arrested for serious crimes are usually put on interim suspension.

“When Students are arrested, they are put on temporary suspension until the date of their trial,” he said. “From the outcome of the trial, the students will learn whether or not they are expelled,” said Blaguszewski.

 Michelle Williams can be reached at [email protected]