Campus sees increase in laptop thefts

Drew Teague

Laptops are a crucial part of a college student’s life, and if they get stolen, that student could be in big trouble.

Across campus, laptops have been stolen from students who leave their belongings unattended.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said many computers have been stolen from campus since the beginning of this calendar year.

“Since Jan. 1, 2010, we have 35 computers that have been stolen on the campus,” Monroe said.

Most of the laptops were not stolen by forced entry, Monroe said. They were opportunity thefts, where the laptop is laying unattended.

“In most of the cases what happens is they don’t break in through force,” Monroe said. “It’s mostly the library or dormitories where people are leaving their building or rooms unlocked or unsecured and leave their laptops lying out.”

One theft of laptops was by forced entry at the UK Bookstore on Avenue of Champions, Monroe said. The thief stole two Macs from the Apple Store located inside the bookstore.

“We did have the one out at the Student Center a week and a half ago that was a forced entry,” Monroe said. “That’s where someone took a brick and smashed a window, and basically, they were in and out in under two minutes, so they knew what they were going after that day.”

Monroe said he feels the thieves are not criminals coming to campus to steal computers, but its other students in common areas who see the opportunity.

“Most laptops are stolen by other students,” Monroe said. “It’s not by someone else, it’s by students.”

Though thefts do not occur at a specific time of day, Monroe points out the logical timing of laptop thefts.

“You have more traffic during the day, you have more rooms that are left unsecured during the day,” Monroe said, “but then at the night you have people studying at the library who need to get a breath of fresh air and go down and get something to drink and they leave that laptop unattended up there.”

Monroe said many of the thieves will quickly sell the stolen laptops.

“A lot of times they will sell it on the street to make quick cash,” Monroe said, “or they’ll smash the screen and sell it to a pawn shop or computer refurbishing place.”

If a student’s laptop has been pawned, UKPD can retrieve the laptop if UKPD knows some simple information of the computer.

“If somebody sells it to a pawn shop, it’s really easy for us to recover those if we have the serial numbers,” Monroe said.

Monroe said many people who steal laptops act in ways which can help them get caught.

“A lot of these people aren’t real smart, they will steal this computer and it doesn’t have a password to get on it, so the first thing they do is go to Starbucks or somewhere and get Wi-Fi and look at their Facebook,” Monroe said.

Monroe stressed that students should know their computer’s serial number and should invest in some tracking software to help police get a physical location of the computer.

“(What) I strongly suggest to help people out is look at investing in security software for your laptop that’s called LoJack,” Monroe said. “It’s real important that students think about that as well as making sure they keep that serial number written down somewhere, so that if their laptop is ever stolen that we get that serial number.”

More information about the LoJack computer software and computer theft can be found on the UK Police department website (