Number of on-campus Macbook thefts increases

Macbook thefts have become a crime trend on campus.


There have been a string of lap-top thefts at Biola in the last few weeks, with the most recent inside lower SUB during Midnight Madness on Nov. 13, 2011. | Illustration by Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES

Michelle Hong, Writer

There have been a string of lap-top thefts at Biola in the last few weeks, with the most recent inside lower SUB during Midnight Madness on Nov. 13, 2011. | Illustration by Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES

The string of laptop thefts this semester tallied at six offenses after another Macbook was stolen around midnight on Nov.14 in the Student Union Building.

Campus Safety responded to the victim’s call minutes after the theft was reported and investigated the area; however, no one was found, according to Justin Shelby, administrative operations manager of Campus Safety.

“The key element in all cases is that the laptops were left unattended and were not secured in any way,” Shelby said. “So far they’ve all been Macbooks that have been taken.”

A crime alert was sent to all students on Oct. 31, five hours after the fifth crime was reported. It notified students of the recurring thefts of laptops and warned that “this is a current crime trend, and it is probable that the suspect(s) may attempt further thefts.” Unfortunately, this probability has become a reality.

Laptops stolen from public and private areas on campus

The Campus Safety crime log reports that the thefts were not constrained to a concentrated area but a myriad of places such as Marshburn Hall, Horton Hall, Hart Hall, Crowell Hall and the Library. Laptops that were reported to be missing from the dorms were taken from dorm rooms with doors left ajar, confirmed Shelby. Both rooms were unoccupied at the time of the theft, and no suspicious persons were reported on scene, although Shelby said that in retrospect, students that were affected noticed a suspicious person but did not do anything about it at time the thefts occurred.

The laptop that was stolen from the music building was taken from a practice room while the one in the Library was taken from one of the individual study carrels. In the incident in Marshburn, the victim left the Macbook out in the common area where it was stolen in a matter of minutes.

Campus Safety explores multiple avenues to find culprit

Multiple measures are being taken to find the people who are behind the thefts, Shelby said.

“We are investigating all avenues. We are talking to witnesses, checking video footage and looking at time frames these events occurred,” Shelby said.

Although there are cameras installed around campus, Shelby said that the number of incidents paired with the broad time frames make sifting through the multiple surveillance cameras an arduous task.

Awareness and cooperation key in preventing future crimes

While Campus Safety is actively investigating the line of Macbook thefts around campus, Shelby advises that students take the safety tips seriously noting that culprits who tend to target college campuses are aware of the time in the semester that students are most distracted. Shelby stressed the fact that in all these cases, the thefts could have been prevented by students themselves.

“We definitely want students to be more aware. The more information we get, the better,” Shelby said. “If anyone is acting suspiciously, we really want to catch them because although laptops are just stuff, it is getting towards the end of semester and students’ lives are essentially on their laptops.”

None of the laptops have been recovered yet. However, Shelby assured that officers on patrol are being active and being as visible as possible in order to prevent more crimes in the future.

“From an investigation standpoint, this is right at the top of the list,” Shelby said. “Thankfully we don’t have a lot of crime here so we can devote a lot of time to this.”

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