• $2,300 worth of UT property stolen this semester, according to UTPD

    Portable electronics remain the most commonly stolen form of UT property this semester, according to University of Texas Police Department officer William Pieper.

    Since the beginning of the semester, a total of $2,300 worth of UT-owned laptop computers, printers and cameras have been stolen from campus, according to UTPD’s Campus Watch.

    Pieper said most thieves who operate on campus are not affiliated with the University.

    “[The thieves] simply come to campus, they walk around and they see items unattended and unsecured and they pick it up and walk away with it,” Pieper said.

    Thieves anticipate getting caught by UT staff members by preparing “canned excuses” for their presence in the building, Pieper said.

    “If somebody does confront them or ask them if they can help them, they will typically have one or two excuses for being there,” Pieper said. “One would be that they are looking for a restroom or, two: they are looking for a specific individual’s office, so what we like to encourage people to do is when they encounter that, to offer good customer service and actually walk them to the restroom or that person’s office. If it’s a thief they will make an excuse and say ‘Oh, I can hold it until I get home’ or ‘I can come back and meet with them tomorrow,’ and they will leave the area.”

    In July, the Campus Watch reported that three bronze letters that spelled the Blanton Museum of Art’s name on the south side of the building had been stolen. The remaining letters spelled “ANN”, which UTPD suggested could be the thief’s name. Repairing the name display cost the museum a total of $500.

    “The Blanton works closely with UTPD on all matters related to security at the museum and its grounds, and continues to monitor the situation,” said Kim Theel, director of operations at the museum.

  • Texas Attorney General has until Sept. 10 to find legal representation

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has until Thursday to find a lawyer to represent him for felony charges of violating state securities laws.

    At a hearing held Aug. 27 in Fort Worth, Paxton’s lead defense lawyer, Joe Kendall, unexpectedly resigned, according to the Dallas Morning News, after Paxton pled not guilty.

    Paxton has been charged with two counts of securities fraud and one count of failure to register with the State Securities Board, all of which the defense said took place before Paxton took office in January 2015.

    “I am innocent of these charges. It is a travesty that some would attempt to hijack our system of justice to achieve political ends they could not accomplish at the ballot box,” Paxton said in a statement. “Regardless, I will continue to serve the people of Texas as Attorney General and continue to fight for the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution.”

    Criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte raised questions about Paxton’s representation when he announced on Twitter that he would represent Paxton in Kendall’s absence.

    “Clarification will be forthcoming today,” Schulte tweeted. “It’s unfortunate Joe Kendall created this confusion in court today as he was leaving the team.”

    Schulte was incorrect, as the Fish & Richardson law firm issued a statement that said they will be helping Paxton search for representation.

    “Fish & Richardson have been assisting Attorney General Ken Paxton in the retention of legal counsel for his criminal case,” the statement said. “No final decision has been made as to who the members of that team will be.”

    State District Judge George Gallagher initially gave Paxton one week after the hearing to find new counsel but has since granted an extension until Sept. 10.

    On Aug. 3, 2015, Paxton was arrested after a state grand jury indicted him on three felony securities fraud charges but was released on $35,000 bail.