Within the span of a week, the campus has been struck by three separate burglaries of computer equipment, resulting in a total loss of approximately $41,700.
The burglaries occurred on three separate nights between July 10 and 14 at the Foothill Residence Halls and Mulford Hall, where a total of 10 laptops and 39 computer towers were stolen, bringing the number of burglaries on campus so far this year to double last year’s total.
The first of the recent burglaries occurred at the Foothill Residence Hall Library between 11:20 p.m. on July 10 and 2 p.m. on July 11, according to UCPD Capt. Margo Bennett.
Ten laptops were stolen from the library, amounting to a loss of $4,000. Entry into the building was through an unsecured screen in an open window on the south side of the building, Bennett said.
The second burglary occurred on July 12 between 1 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. in a computer lab on the first floor of Mulford Hall. Entry into the building was made through a broken glass window on the east exterior-door side, but according to Bennett, it is not known at this time how the suspects were able to get into the locked computer lab.
Twenty-six Dell computer towers were taken from the lab for a loss of $13,000. Bennett said UCPD does not know how such a large amount was stolen without detection.
The third burglary occurred just a few days later — also in Mulford Hall — between 3 p.m. on July 14 and 8 a.m. on July 15 in another computer lab/classroom. According to Bennett, the suspect or suspects gained entry into the room through a broken window, taking 13 Dell computer towers for a loss of about $24,700.
Bennett said UCPD is currently pursuing leads but is not releasing any information yet about the investigation. She said police cannot say at this time whether or not the suspects in the burglaries were the same.
Bennett did, however, note that in addition to its investigation of the burglaries, UCPD is working with the departments affected by the burglaries to assess their existing security measures.
“(UCPD has) been coming in now and then, but we haven’t changed anything,” said Saya Wai, a senior clerk for Unit 4, which includes Foothill. “The room they broke into had a special key, so putting it on a different key core wouldn’t have changed much.”
Although Bennett said officers will also be increasing patrol on campus as a result of the burglaries, students are still concerned about the effectiveness of campus security.
“Students are frustrated that UCPD is not interested in protecting our resources,” said Kristen Van Dam, a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources whose computer was stolen in one of the recent burglaries. “… (The burglars) know the campus well, and they know the campus isn’t doing anything, so they are just coming in and sucking us dry.”
Bennett said she could not recall the last time burglaries of this magnitude occurred in such a short period of time. She added that there was a total of 36 burglaries in 2011, but only halfway into this year, there have already been 32 burglaries.
Another major concern among students and faculty is the increased frequency of burglaries around the area. These recent burglaries join the list of burglaries that have occurred on the north side of campus in recent years, especially within the last few months.
Last fall and early this spring, break-ins occurred at Wellman Hall, Giannini Hall and Hilgard Hall, where monitors, laptops and computers were stolen.
Chloe Lewis, a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources, had her computer stolen from her office on the third floor of Hilgard Hall. She said that she now works from home instead of her office at Hilgard Hall due to safety concerns.
“My personal computer was stolen, but I was lucky because my adviser didn’t exactly replace it since it was old, but gave me a brand new one instead,” Lewis said. “But not all labs can afford to replace computers.”
Assistant news editor Anjuli Sastry contributed to this report.
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