With finals week just around the corner, the library is getting more packed by the day, leaving open opportunities for students to have items stolen from them.
Capt. Peggie Jane McGregor-Mahan of the University Police Department said although there have only been two laptops reported stolen to UPD from the J.D. Williams Library this semester, there is normally an increase during certain times of the academic year.
“Generally, with theft in the library, the numbers run about the same throughout the semesters,” she said. “Usually we see increases starting about a week before finals and a week before midterms because there’s an increase of people in the library.”
Myles Seiple, an accounting major, had his laptop stolen in the library Monday.
Seiple said he left his zipped backpack unattended at a table on the second floor for about two or three minutes. When he came back, he was surprised to see another student sitting at the table that he left his bag at.
“I was like, ‘Yo, homie, why’d you move my stuff?’ The guy was confused and said he didn’t,” Seiple said. “I looked behind the bookshelves, and my backpack was pillaged with the laptop AWOL.”
Seiple said that once he realized his laptop had actually been stolen, he told the librarians and filed a police report with UPD.
“The staff of the library was extremely helpful with the resources they had, but a lack of cameras limited their ability,” he said.
Ashley Barker, a biology major, also had her backpack stolen from the third floor of the library last year.
“I was gone for a minute to use the restroom, and when I came back, my computer and backpack were stolen,” Barker said. “I went to the library staff and filed a police report, but there was nothing they could do.”
The next day, Barker said her backpack was found in a corner on the third floor that still had her binders, but her wallet and textbooks were gone.
“When I got back to my desk it looked like they took it and rushed,” she said. “Some stuff was on the ground and I was literally gone for probably one minute.”
Barker said no one was ever caught.
Although Barker had this experience, she said she still believes campus is, for the most part, a safe place.
“I think it’s safe because the library is crowded and it’s impractical to pack everything up to run to the bathroom or Starbucks,” she said. “We are all students and should feel safe.”
Capt. Mahan said she believes these crimes to be random and that students can avoid theft by bringing their belongings with them or asking friends to watch their things while they’re gone.
“One thing that I’ve noticed is that most of them are thefts of opportunity, where someone gets up and leaves their things unattended,” she said. “Anytime anything is stolen from a student or any individual on campus, we ask that they report it as soon as possible because the sooner they can report it, there’s a better chance of locating it,” she said.