Thefts continue to plague University

by Christie Reed
Managing Editor
Rob Strauss
Staff Writer

With no sign of forced entry in either department, thousands of dollars worth of computer and office equipment was stolen from the University of La Verne Music and Education departments on March 2.

Details are unknown, pending an investigation by the La Verne Police Department. On the night of the departmental thefts there was one security officer on duty, according to Tom Erickson, interim director of security and transportation.

“Both buildings and doors were locked and checked by the officer on duty,” said Erickson.

The thefts from the Education Department included a laptop computer, a new fax machine, a cassette recorder and cables, which were stolen from three different offices in the department.

That same morning, between the hours of 2:30 and 8:30 a.m., three AIWA mini-stereo systems, along with their remote controls, and an unknown number of compact discs were stolen from Music Department offices in Founders Hall. Dr. Kathleen Lamkin, professor of music, reports the approximate cost of the stereos as being $900-$1,000.

There was no student worker on duty Friday night in the Music Department and the last person left at 5 p.m. Dr. Lamkin said that all of the doors were locked. Junior Javier Harvin, a student worker for the Music Department, however, reports seeing the office door of Bruce Hirsch, associate professor of music, open on Saturday morning. He immediately locked it.

Dr. Reed Gratz, professor of music, also had a number of CDs and cassette tapes stolen from his office.

“This was the fourth thing that has been stolen from my office in about a year,” said Dr. Gratz. “That is just ridiculous.”

Dr. Gratz also noticed that the thieves targeted what he referred to as “quick selling” items or items that would go well in apartments.

“It seems like that is all they were after,”said Harvin. “It was somebody with a key, basically.”

Millie Elrod, administrative assistant for the Education Department, agrees that the thief had a key.

The burglars’ means of entrance into the offices is unknown, but the possibility of keys falling into the wrong hands has been discussed.

Founders Hall and the Mainiero Building, along with six individual offices, were entered and this would most likely require sets of keys, said Erickson.

Dr. Gratz has no doubt that the thief had a set of keys.

“Three separate doors were unlocked [in the music department],” said Dr. Gratz. “It is too obvious.”

“The whole key policy needs to be looked at in regards to how we handle keys and who we give them to,” said Erickson.

No computers were taken from the Music Department, a fact that Dr. Lamkin attributes to all of them being attached to security cables.

In his report, Erickson noted that the computers in the Education Department that were tied down with cables also appeared to be untouched.

Just two weeks prior to the departmental break-ins, on Feb. 23, the Vax terminal was stolen from the Student Center desk, and once again no evidence of forced entry was found.

“The Vax was seen at closing time, and in-between closing and opening it was stolen,” said Erickson.

Closing is at approximately 10:30 p.m. and opening is at about 8 a.m., but there are workers in the Student Center prior to that time.

“The thefts [on Feb. 23 and March 2] are very different,” said Erickson. “It [the Vax terminal] was a lot older machine and the Student Center is a very high-traffic area.”

Because of the these recent thefts, security is “patrolling the areas heavily that keys may have come from,” said Erickson.

Dr. Gratz said he is taking matters into his own hands after this most recent theft.

“I will go to the hardware store and buy a lock where I have the only key,” said Dr. Gratz.

Erickson recommends that students, staff and faculty secure computers with cables, etch serial numbers into valuable belongings and be careful about lending keys to anybody.

Dr. Lamkin is not sure what is going to be done on a larger scale to prevent further thefts, but agrees that “something has to be done.”

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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