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University News

Bookstore to install alarms after thefts

Contributing Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2011

After three notebook computers were stolen from the Brown Bookstore in the past month, the store has decided to install alarms on all laptops to prevent further thefts.

According to Steven Souza, the director of the Brown Bookstore, someone outside the Brown community stole a laptop from the bookstore several weeks ago. The thief had been loitering in the computer area, he said. When a worker placed a laptop behind the counter to retrieve another for a student customer, the man reached behind the counter and walked out with the laptop.

Souza contacted the Department of Public Safety that day when he noticed one of the display laptops was missing. Bookstore and DPS staff looked at footage from security cameras and used a screenshot of the man’s face to identify him. DPS handed the case over to the Providence Police Department, who have put out a warrant for the man’s arrest, but he has not been apprehended.

Executive Director and Chief of Public Safety Mark Porter did not respond to requests for comment.

Two more laptops were stolen from the bookstore Feb. 25. Again, the thief loitered in the technology department but brought an apparatus to cut the security cord. DPS was notified the same day, but a suspect has not yet been identified.

Because of this second theft, Souza said the bookstore will be putting alarms on the laptops. “We thought we were secure with locks on them,” Souza said. Bookstore administrators are also looking into placing tracking programs in the computers with help from Computing and Information Services. They hope to never reach the point of having security staff patrol the store, Souza said. “We’ve got to help ourselves. Be observant,” he said.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” Souza said, adding that “we lose inventory every year,” but “three computers in a couple of weeks is inordinately high.” The first theft was due to “procedure not being followed,” Souza said. He said the culprits are probably people who steal for a living, and he is worried the bookstore is considered an “easy target.”

A laptop and an iPhone were also stolen from the GeoChem Building Feb. 4.

Two males who are not students were caught on surveillance camera Feb. 4 leaving the GeoChem Building after being inside for 10 minutes, according to WPRI. A MacBook Pro laptop and an iPhone were reported stolen from a lab in the building the same day. The Providence Police are looking into the situation, according to WPRI.

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