Surge in thefts a ‘concern’

UVM Police are investigating a reported laptop theft from a computer lab in Old Mill that occurred sometime between last Thursday night and Friday morning. 

About 14 laptops were reportedly taken from a ground-floor computer lab in the Old Mill building, Lieutenant Larry Magnant of Police Services said. No arrests have yet been made in this case.

This crime follows several thefts that occurred Oct. 8 through Oct. 11, according to a UVM police press release issued Oct.14.

Witnesses of an attempted theft reported seeing a person in an employee’s office going through a backpack and personal bag, Magnant said. 

“No property was reported taken,” he said. “The person in the employee’s office departed upon the return of the employee.”

While no arrests have yet been made any of the thefts cases, the suspect in one larceny is reported to be a thin, Caucasian male “with a darker complexion,” who has dark brown hair and brown eyes, according to the press release. The suspect is also reported to be in his early twenties and “clean shaven, short but ‘scruffy’ and between 5’11” – 6’1″ in height,” according to the press release.

The subject was last seen “wearing tight tan khaki pants, a blue sweater, and a pressed collared white button down shirt with the collar and cuffs exposed,” according to the press release. 

Earlier in the week, two purses were reported stolen from Alice’s Cafe in Living/Learning, Magnant said. 

Those purses were recovered in the Jeffords Building later that day. That same day, a laptop and iPhone were reported stolen from a lab in the Jefford’s building.  The laptop and iPhone were found in a bathroom in Jefford’s Building in the same original carry bag.  A pocket knife and some coins were missing from the bag, Magnant said.

“These were crimes of opportunity,” he said.

Based on the witness description, Police Services was able to produce the composite picture, which was included in the Cat Alert issued Oct. 14.

At this time, UVM police don’t have any specific information to connect this burglary with any of the other recent thefts around that area, Magnant said.

This increase in thefts on campus is cause for concern, investigating officer Matthew Collins said. 

“Because the advisory has been put out, that indicates that we have seen more larcenies than on average,” he said. “We’re just asking everybody to be a little more careful.”

Sophomore Marissa Lehrman said she always considered UVM to be a relatively crime-free campus.

“UVM has always been such a safe place,” she said. “Aside from bike seat thefts, I don’t feel like a lot of crime happens here. I think it’s really unfortunate that these thefts are taking place.”

Police Services encourage UVM staff and faculty to secure their items, and not leave things out in the open. 

“Police Services Staff cannot be everywhere all the time,” Magnant said. “Citizen assistance is one of the key links in preventing and solving these types of crimes. We could not have produced the composite without the time and assistance of the witness.”