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Rash of laptop thefts from offices reported

Between November 1 and 19, there have been thefts of 17 laptop computers and two PalmPilots reported to Campus Police.

Eight of the offices involved were locked with no signs of forced entry, and five areas were unlocked. Also, three of the laptops were not only in locked offices but were secured with a cable lock which was cut. None of the stolen laptops was registered with the STOP program.

Most of these incidents are occurring over weekends, with 11 thefts between Friday and Sunday or Monday.

The Campus Police Crime Prevention Unit recommends the following:

  • Never leave property unattended even for a moment. Keep valuable items such as laptops, cameras, cell phones and cash locked up. Don't assume that a locked office door is sufficient. Although there have been desks broken into in the past, all of the recently stolen items were left on desktops.
  • Always keep a backup of your computer files in a separate and secure place.
  • Immediately call Campus Police to report suspicious people or activity. Dial 100 from any Institute telephone or x3-1212. Notifying Campus Police in a timely fashion is crucial for any apprehension of a suspect or to alert them to the scene of a crime.
  • Register your laptop computer with the STOP program (Security Tracing of Office Products) for $10 (cash or departmental requisition). The tag requires 800 pounds of pressure to remove and, if removed, leaves a "tattoo" stating that the article is stolen property.

The next registration sessions for STOP will be held on Friday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Center Lobby, and Thursday, Dec. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Lobby 10.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 28, 2001.

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