Location Of Theft in AQUA BLUE
URL Of Linked Article In STEEL BLUE or GREEN
Full Content Of Article In BLACK
Theft Description In Body Of Article in RED

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


String of Computer Thefts Hits Campus, Suggests Economic Troubles

On Nov. 11, the Office of Safety and Security and the Center for Information Technology notified the College faculty and staff of a string of computer thefts occurring in the first two weeks of November. According to Director of Safety and Security Marjorie Burton, there were a total of 10 computers stolen, the first four from CIT offices in Mudd Library. The thefts were reported to the Oberlin Police Department, whose investigation is ongoing.
This amount of computers stolen in a single month is unprecedented, said Burton, noting that there was a single theft reported this past October and none in September. In addition to the four laptops at Mudd, laptops belonging to both students and faculty were stolen from the Conservatory, Philips Gym and Wilder, totaling a value of about $15,000.
Burton attributed the thefts to “a combination of the economy, the time of year, the heating bills and the pressure to have more cash on hand.”
In a letter to Oberlin faculty, Burton recommended securing laptop computers with physical locks, storing laptops in a locked cabinet or desk and taking laptop computers home when leaving campus. Burton advised students to stay more alert and to use the notebook locks for sale at CIT.
John Bucher, chief technology officer and director of CIT, stated that, “there was no forced entry [into CIT offices] … I’ve been told that some of the cameras we have recorded the fact that whoever did this had keys.”
From his contact with Safety and Security, Bucher believes that the thefts in CIT were planned, explaining that, “[The thieves] knew what they were after … what offices to go into, what offices had Macintosh laptops. There’s some reason to think they had been in here before looking things over … They knew what they were doing.”
Bucher noted that his staff members are more shaken than angry about the thefts, saying, “It’s not just a matter of theft of hardware; it’s a kind of a theft of security.”
In response to the thefts, CIT brought in a consultant on Dec. 1 to look over security in the offices and make recommendations on how to improve. Bucher hopes that within the next few months, some of the locks will be changed to card-swipe locks but noted that budget issues are always a concern.
Both Burton and Bucher stated that there is no evidence to suggest that students were responsible for the thefts.

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