SECURITY PULLS PLUG ON SAFETYTRON

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By André Voshart

A self-proclaimed “robot from the future” was approached by security and questioned about his presence outside the Image Arts building last week.

At around 3 p.m. on Feb. 7, fourth-year film student Evan Wargon, also known in certain circles as SafetyTron3000, was outside 121 Bond St. wearing a “robot costume” he fashioned out of a cardboard box.

While outside, he spoke to passersby in a mechanical voice about the importance of traffic safety.

“They loved it,” he said after the incident. “Everyone loves robots.”

However, not everyone was amused by SafetyTron3000’s shenanigans and lectures about the yellow lines in the road. While Wargon was informing a group of students across the Heidelberg Centre to “look both ways”, he was approached by three Ryerson security guards. “I had noticed a security guy on the side skulking and watching,” Wargon said.

After he crossed the street, two other officers came from the opposite direction. When the three guards approached him, he gave them a robot-voice greeting and asked: “Is this a sting?” Wargon played up the voice, even when he realized they were serious.

He was asked to provide a student card. However, being decked out in body-length cardboard made it difficult. “I asked them if they wanted to hold my helmet,” he said. They didn’t want to.

Security let him go after he proved he was a student, but “the more I thought about it, the angrier I got,” he said.

Lawrence Robinson, manager of safety and security, said one of the officers saw Wargon as SafetyTron3000 and wanted to ensure he wasn’t a risk.

Still, the incident was not enough to warrant being written up, Robinson said.

The idea to become a futuristic being of artificial intelligence came to Wargon when he saw a large box in the Images Arts building. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it would make a good robot,” he said.

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