By Mick Thomas
Twenty-five Hewlett-Packard laptop computers worth more than $17,000 were stolen from a secured cabinet in room 208 of the Tri-C Metro’s Liberal Arts (MLA) Building of sometime after Dec. 3 2017, according to a campus police report filed in February.
Room 208 of the MLA building is not a classroom and not accessible to students–it is for media equipment: a discreet storage room that remains locked at all times.
The laptops are HP ProBooks model 400 G1 used by both students and faculty valued at $17,950.00. Technician Charles Schick was sent to MLA 208 on Jan. 10, 2018 to retrieve a laptop, according to the police report, and discovered that all twenty-five laptops that belonged in the cabinet were missing.
Tri-C Police Officer R. McClish responded to a dispatch call at MLA 208 the next morning. According to the police report, there was no sign of forced entry to the locked room and the ceiling tiles didn’t show any sign of disturbance, suggesting that the perpetrator either had a key to the room or the room was left unlocked.
The padlock securing the rolling cabinet that held the laptops had been was removed and was missing. However, the report notes 21 screws were removed from the back of the cabinet using a pair of scissors that appeared to be utilized as a screwdriver. The removal of the back side of the container failed, and apparently the perpetrator removed the padlock.
Tri-C Police could not comment on this story or the report, as it is an ongoing investigation. “We thought we were pretty secure in what we were doing,” said Integration Technician Bryan Simpson, whose department is in charge of taking care of classrooms and the equipment in them.
There are extra keys are in a lockbox in the computer lab MTLC 256. Students themselves do not have access to these keys, and professors must go through Simpson’s department in order to gain access to the laptops.
“It’s really our department’s job to distribute them,” he said. Anyone with information regarding the theft should contact the Metro Tri-C police department at 216-987-4110.