NEWS

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April 26, 2011

Laptop thefts sweep campus

Students reported four different thefts of unattended items in the Reynolds Club last Friday, the latest in a series of nonviolent crimes that have occurred in nonresidential University buildings this month.

Since April 1, eleven unattended laptops have been stolen inside University buildings, four of which were taken from desks in the Regenstein Library. During the same period, two iPhones and one laptop were also reported missing in University dining halls.

While the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) will continue routine premise checks inside University buildings, there will be no increased police presence in affected areas, according to UCPD spokesperson Bob Mason.

“You can’t just walk away from your property, even if it’s inconvenient,” Mason said, referring to the fact that many of the stolen items were left unattended.

Two of the thefts occurred when their owners were asleep; last Friday a laptop was stolen from a student’s backpack in the Reynolds Club, and on April 8, a student’s iPhone was taken.

In response, Regenstein administrators posted signs throughout the library notifying students of the thefts and urging them not to leave belongings unattended. Similar notices have not been posted in the Reynolds Club or dining halls.

Though police continue to investigate the thefts, Mason said UCPD will not dispatch a community-wide security alert. Students received four community alerts, usually triggered by violent crimes in designated on-campus areas, during fall and winter quarters this year.

Mason said that, while police have noticed the uptick in thefts, he was hesitant to call it a trend. “Something like this could happen at any time,” he said.

Despite an eyewitness account of the first laptop theft in the Regenstein library on April 2, Mason said police were unsure whether the same individuals were behind all of the thefts.

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