By Megan Millard
Campus Safety is warning Loyola University Chicago students not to leave valuables unattended, as a new series of thefts have occurred on campus.
On Wednesday, April 27, at 1:40 p.m., an unattended laptop computer was stolen from the first floor of Cudahy Library.
On Thursday, April 28, at 2 p.m., an unattended laptop computer was stolen from the third floor of the Klarchek Information Commons.
A witness to the theft on April 28 was able to provide the following description of the offender: a male between the ages of 20 and 25, short black hair, and facial hair (goatee or mustache). He is approximately 5’10” and 160 lbs. and was last seen wearing a light-weight grey jacket or shirt.
Director of Campus Safety Robert Fine said the warning is due to the increasing number of students using the Information Commons and Cudahy Library as the semester winds down.
“It’s a shame you can’t leave your personal property unattended,” Fine said.
Loyola student Roxanne McGee, a 20-year old with a double major in English and History, learned that lesson the hard way when her iPod was stolen from a computer lab in Mertz Hall.
“This has definitely made me more careful with my belongings,” McGee said “Now I always put things away whenever I am not using them just to be safe.”
“I know for sure that I had it because at one stage I disconnected the headphones and started to listen to a song on YouTube,” she said.
It was when McGee began to gather her belongings to go to class that she noticed her iPod was gone.
“I realized straight away that my iPod had been stolen basically in front of me because I hadn’t left the computer.”
One piece of good news is the fact that while thefts occur, there is a decrease in one facility at least. According to Nathan Clark, assistant director of Halas Jr. Sports Center, there has only been two thefts reported this year so far, while last year there were 15.
“Typically we have had thefts occur from the locker rooms and from the hallways downstairs, outside the cardio rooms,” he said. ” Usually the items taken have been wallets, MP3 players, sometimes books, but not usually. Typical items are things that are small enough to fit in a pocket.”
Clark says precautions have been taken to prevent thefts from the facility, including installation of cameras, as well as signs posted throughout the facility warning people not to leave belongings unattended.
Clark has a piece of advice for people when they decide to come to the gym.
“Students, faculty and staff need to be more cautious when bringing valuables to the gym. If you must, then make sure you get a locker and secure your valuables properly. Never leave anything that you aren’t willing to lose unattended,” he said.
According to Lieutenant Joe Bogdalek, a Campus Safety officer for seven years, who also spent 34 years with the Chicago Police Department says thefts in general are up and down depending on the season. Besides being aware of surroundings, he has another tip for students that could help in the event something of theirs is stolen.
“When you have something with a serial number on it, write it down somewhere,” Bogdalek said.
This information, Bogdalek said, could assist police in identifying stolen property much better than if no serial number is provided.
In addition, Bogdalek warns students to be aware of other types of theft that occur, including thefts of bicycles as well as thefts from dorm rooms. Because of this, he urges students to keep dorm rooms locked, and to secure bicycles with a lock.
Bike locks can be purchased at both Campus Safety’s Water Tower and Lake Shore campus locations for $20. Also, students are urged to register their bicycles.
Another common form of theft is that of computers. They are oftentimes taken from the library or Information Commons when left unattended.
As for McGee, she has learned her lesson, she reported the incident but has not heard anything since the event.
“I would just say to be sure that you don’t leave anything unattended,” she said. “Put anything away that you’re not using and don’t make it obvious if you have any valuable items.”
If you have any information related to this case, please contact Campus Safety immediately at 773.508.6039. We’ve also included a list of important safety tips below that we encourage you to review.