Laptop thefts lead to locked doors in Hill

Freshman Kyle Thomas walked into his room in Hill Hall earlier this quarter to discover his Macbook Pro had been stolen, although nothing else was taken.

"They were definitely after a Mac," he said. His roommate’s Dell laptop was not touched.

Thomas is not alone. There have been six residence hall thefts since the beginning of the school year, said Associate Director of Safety and Security Vic Peirsol. This includes three Mac laptop thefts, all in Hill Hall: two in October and one in November.

In each case, students reported that a missing laptop was stolen from an empty, unlocked room, Peirsol said. Residence hall students were notified of the series of thefts in a Nov. 12 e-mail from Residence Life, which asked students to lock their doors when they leave their rooms.

"We have recovered two of the stolen items and we are continuing the investigation," Peirsol said. The recovered items are an iPod and one of the Mac laptops, he said. The other four stolen items, which includes two Mac laptops, are still missing, he said.

One theft happened in less than 45 minutes when the student was gone, Peirsol said.

Even if students are just going down the hall, going to a class or to eat, thefts can happen in that time, Peirsol said.

"It’s just an opportunity that can be eliminated if people lock their doors," he said.

As word of the incidents spread, students began to take more precautions.

"Now that all these problems have been occurring, me and my roommate lock our door every time," sophomore Ariel Grimm said.

Grimm said she never locked her room as a freshman. After hearing about the recent thefts, Grimm said she feels safer if she leaves the door locked when she is not around.

"We seldom have a burglary in which someone has broken into a locked room or building," Peirsol said.

Thomas said the experience taught him a hard lesson. "We lock our room all the time now," he said.

For those who like a little added protection, insurance options can help take some of the sting off if something happens.

For roughly $150, students can buy "college insurance" that covers damage or theft of anything over a $25 value in their room through a Web site like National Student Services, Inc. (

Although Thomas said Hill Hall’s traditional "family atmosphere" has not changed, he said it is now somewhat of an inconvenience because the hall does not seem as open.

"I’m much more cautious about letting people in," Thomas said.

He said he is also more in tune with people on the floor whom he does not know. Thomas also tries to keep an eye out for other floor mates when he is around, he said.

"I’d probably say you can never really be too careful," Thomas said. "It’s unfortunate that (theft) goes on, but it’s a part of life I guess."

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Title: Laptop thefts lead to locked doors in Hill | Author: Jeff Boyer | Section: News | Published Date: 2009-12-02 | Internal ID: 6722