Petty Theft Not So Uncommon

T-Sgt. Nate Leonard, UPD Columnist

At this point in the school year, without a doubt you have realized that larceny is a frequent crime on campus. If you have not been the victim of a larceny, I’m sure you know of someone who has.

This week I would like to offer some tips that may be of assistance to you to possibly prevent you from being the victim of a larceny, or to aid the police in the retrieval of your items if you have belongings stolen. Petit larceny, which is defined by stealing property from another person, is a class A misdemeanor in New York State. If you steal property valued at more than $1,000 it becomes a felony. Also keep in mind, if you steal a credit or debit card, you have committed a felony as well.

The first and best piece of advice I can give you is to trust no one in regards to leaving valuables unsecured in your room. When items go missing, many times it is discovered that a roommate saw it lying around and thought they could take it without getting caught. Whenever you leave your room, lock your door! There have been many cases in which people leave their doors open or unlocked for a brief time and return to their room to find that they are missing valuables. Potential perpetrators will sometimes walk the halls and check doors to see if they are unlocked or if they see an open door with valuables in plain sight they can quickly sneak in and grab the items and walk out within a minute. Consider that it takes at least a couple of minutes for you to use the bathroom. Be aware of someone walking into your room and saying “Oops, wrong room.” This is often what someone will say if they find a resident unexpectedly in the room.

Sometimes no matter how careful you are, you will still find items have been taken from you. If you take a few precautionary measures you can possibly make the retrieval of those items easier. If you bring valuables to campus such as laptops, televisions, video game consoles etc., make sure you have recorded the serial numbers. Even if the police find the stolen item, this may be the only way to identify it as yours. Cell phones are a big target for theft as well. If you own an iPhone I would suggest looking into an app such as “Find My iPhone.” We have retrieved several iPhones because the owner had installed this app previously. As the semester nears the end, we deal with a large amount of stolen textbook cases. People will look to steal these and sell them quickly to bookstores to make some easy money. I would suggest putting an identifying mark in every book you own. This may be initialing the corner of page 100 in each book or something similar to that. If the book turns up at the bookstore it can easily be identified as yours because you know what and where the identifying mark is.

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