Feb 212006
Authors: Vimal Patel

In recent months, two campus buildings have been hit with large-scale thefts of computers totaling more than $15,000.

And just in the last two weeks, multiple computers have been reported missing from various campus departments.

No evidence of forcible break-ins exists, causing some to speculate that the person or persons responsible may have a key.

"We definitely have a computer-theft problem," said Yvonne Paez, CSU Police Department spokeswoman, asking for the campus community to be vigilant in reporting suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary activity. "It's gotten to the point where we can't do this alone."

The College of Business in December reported the thefts of seven laptop computers and several accessories.

In late January, Donna Merwarth, a research assistant, noticed six computers missing from Clark A7. The computers were last seen in mid-December, she told police. So they could have went missing anytime during winter break or the first week of class.

The thefts of the computers reported missing in January from the Clark A-wing had an estimated value of $7,400, and were all taken from the building's basement.

There are no witnesses to any of the reported computer thefts.

"Our best assumption is whoever it is walks around, checks to see what's in the rooms and comes back when things are quiet over the weekend or during the night," said Ernest Chavez, chair of the psychology department, about the A-wing thefts.

The CSU Police Department received two more reports of computer thefts from the A-wing of Clark last week. They reportedly occurred between Feb. 10 and Feb. 13.

In fact, although the time frames for all the thefts aren't exactly clear, most appear to be occurring over weekends or during breaks.

In every instance looked at by the Collegian, the doors in the labs, and the classrooms or offices were said by those reporting the thefts to be locked.

Paez said that in many cases there doesn't appear to be any forcible entry, but that she won't speculate whether the person or persons responsible have a key.

"It's hard to tell because a lot of people don't lock their doors," she said.

Chavez said his department is looking into the possibility of installing security cameras. He added the problem should be dealt with as a university-wide problem.

"We have a lot of computers on this campus and a lot of labs," he said. "There's a good chance that the folks were coordinated."

Vimal Patel can be reached at regional@collegian.com

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