Several new laptop thefts occurred last weekend, including five thefts on Friday, Oct. 8 from the Hewitt dormitories. According to Director of Public Safety (PSafe) Dave Meyer, every room in Hewitt that was burglarized was left unlocked by the student. Additionally, he said that the other affected residences on campus also had either windows or doors left open.
“What we think is happening is people are taking advantage of [students],” Meyer said. “[The thefts tended to happen] when people were out, almost [every item stolen was a] laptop. The majority of the thefts are crimes of opportunity.”
Meyer guessed that the thieves were exploiting the fact that it was a Friday night to get into residence halls and steal from unlocked rooms.
“When I got back in the morning, I opened my door and noticed that my computer was missing off my bed,” said Michael Darer ’15, who had his computer stolen last weekend. “I had left the window a little bit cracked, because I had anticipated coming back to my room and the screen had kind of dislodged from its socket or whatever it latches onto in the window, and so I guess somebody had climbed in.”
According to Meyer, neither PSafe nor the Middletown Police Department has any suspects for these crimes. He did indicate that while they believed the Hewitt thefts had likely been committed by the same person, PSafe did not know whether the non-Hewitt thefts were connected. Meyer also said that he did not suspect the Hewitt thefts were connected to the woodframe house thefts, which occurred in early September.
“I don’t think [they’re connected],” Meyer said. “[The current series of thefts] seems to be [using] a little bit different method.”
In an effort to prevent further thefts from taking place, PSafe has cautioned students to keep their doors locked and their windows closed at all times. Additionally, Meyer suggested that students keep record of their computers’ serial numbers in order to keep track of them in case they are stolen. He also advised that students download FrontDoorSoftware, a program which helps to track stolen computers. Students can download the program for free from a link on PSafe’s website.
“[This] is what the students need to do,” Meyer said. “We can’t watch everybody’s doors 24/7.”
Meyer was hopeful that these suggestions about security could prevent future thefts. For Darer, this experience has convinced him to keep his room more secure.
“I took it for granted that I could just leave stuff in my room and be casual with security,” Darer said. “This has very clearly shown me that I can’t do that. It’s been jarring, but I needed the wake-up call.”