Laptops snapped up! Criminologists stumped by daylight robbery
Students revising at the Radzinowicz Library in the Institute of Criminology on Thursday became unwitting witnesses to a textbook crime.
An opportunist thief stole two laptops left unattended under desks. The laptops were concealed in bags whilst their owners went out for lunch, suggesting that the thief had been in the library for some time previously observing potential victims.
Despite the crime occurring in a well-used area filled with students, it went undetected until the students had returned.
“It was obviously an opportunist, probably unaffiliated with the University,” said Stuart Stone, a librarian working at the time of the incident. “We have lots of students from other faculties coming in just to revise, so people are constantly coming in and out and it’s hard for us to recognise faces.”
“People seem to forget that faculty libraries are not as secure as college libraries, especially during exam term — you may as well leave your laptop out on the street.”
The incident has highlighted major security concerns, which are to be addressed by a potential re-configuration of the library floor plan over the summer. The proposed changes would mean that all visitors would have to go past the issue desk upon entrance and exit.
Similar thefts have occurred at the Sidgwick Site before, most notably when repeat laptop thefts at the Criminology Library occurred last February. Funny coincidence.
“I’m surprised that no one noticed it happen,” said Rachel Denham, a first year historian. “What’s the use of revising crime prevention if you can’t apply those skills to a real life situation?”
Concerns have been raised over this incident’s possible connection to other laptop thefts in the English and MML libraries, reports of two men harassing female students on nearby Grange Road, and the infiltration of ants in the coffee machine at the English Faculty earlier this term.
“’It is Sherlockian, in that it is a beautiful, artful riddle — ironic and quite sexy. The perfect crime — a crime carried out in the criminology faculty, surrounded by experts in the field of criminality,” mused Sky Holmes, a second year English student.
“This influx of crime at Sidgwick suggests that it has become a hotspot for criminal activity… who knows, maybe there’s one person behind it all?”
A police investigation has been launched as CCTV footage has narrowed the list of suspects down to a handful. The constabulary was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.