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.