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OSU police continue investigation into ‘unusually high amount’ of thefts at SEL

Thirteen thefts have occurred at the Science and Engineering Library since January, which is an “unusually high amount,” said Chief Paul Denton of OSU police.

There is an ongoing investigation regarding a large amount of thefts of personal belongings, particularly computers, at the SEL.

“It’s enough of a pattern to cause us to direct our attention to that,” Denton said.

Denton could not say how many computers or items have been stolen, nor the amount of money they might equal.

There are currently three identified persons of interests in this investigation.

“General description is male, black, medium to thin build, such a vague description,” Denton said. “May be one or more than one, could be up to three different people.”

OSU police released footage of the SEL to Crime Stoppers to help catch culprits of the recent string of thefts.

Police questioned a student on May 26 regarding a robbery, but he denied responsibility. The Lantern has chosen not to reveal this person’s name as no charges have been filed against him.

Some students are not surprised about the increase of theft at the SEL.

“It’s pretty crowded in here; there’s nothing stopping anyone from walking out the door,” said Carl Hinderer, a fourth-year in computer and information science.

Denton said police are also working with staff at libraries to encourage students to not leave their personal belongings unattended.

Police reports show the majority of thefts from campus libraries are of laptops, and result from students walking away from their belongings.

Hinderer is also a student computer center consultant at the SEL and said he often sees students leaving items.

“Students aren’t vigilant enough. They’ll go to the third floor and leave their laptops sitting here,” Hinderer said. “That’s the biggest problem, you gotta watch your stuff.”

Alex Colon, a recent graduate with a degree Italian, studies at the SEL often and said he doesn’t see much of a security presence in the library.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 2, 2011

An earlier version of this story stated that police questioned a student Wednesday regarding the thefts. The student was questioned May 26.

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