August 23, 2007

Police urge prevention in wake of laptop thefts

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale police are urging prevention after the thefts of three University laptop computers from three academic offices this week.

Police are also strongly recommending the purchase of computer software that can assist authorities in finding stolen computers. They are also remind staff and students to lock the doors to their offices and residence hall rooms when they leave.

Laptop computers were taken during business hours from an office in the Wham Education Building on Monday, and from separate offices in the Agriculture Building and James W. Neckers Building on Tuesday, said SIUC police officer Renee L. Eberhard. There is no indication if the thefts are related.

Software that transmits signals from stolen computers once the user goes online gives authorities an Internet IP address. Police then use the information in to help locate the computer, SIUC police officer Scott Miller said.

That type of software enabled SIUC police in May to retrieve from Chicago a computer that was stolen in February, Miller said.

There were 27 laptop computers stolen from academic buildings and residence halls at SIUC from Aug. 21, 2006 to Aug. 4, 2007, police said. Eleven of the thefts occurred from buildings on campus and 16 from residence halls.

Anyone with information about the thefts should call the SIUC Department of Public Safety at 618/453-3771 or the Crime Stopper Line at 618/549-COPS.