Booster blues at ConU libraries

If you don’t keep an eye out for your cellular phone, your Palm Pilot, your purse or your other personal belongings, someone else may do it for you – and it’s not ConU security or other samaritans.
Concordia’s Webster Library has become a regular haven for petty thieves who consider the students to be easy pickings.
Darren Dumoulin, a spokesman for Concordia security, said there were 26 robberies in January alone, not including unreported thefts.
“Nothing is safe,” he said. “Everything from leather coats to laptop computers have been stolen, with Concordia textbooks being sold as far as away as at the University of Toronto.”
He said that women, especially those who live alone, should take more than the
usual precautions with regard to their wallets and their keys.
“Not only do they lose their money and their credit cards, but the thief has their address and the keys to their apartment. [If their purse is stolen,] they should change their locks right away.”
The police are beginning to take petty theft more seriously. Serial numbers for such high value items as laptop computers are registered in the police computer as soon as the theft is reported. Pawnshops must register the serial numbers of every purchase made in a given day. This has made the disposal of stolen goods more difficult and less profitable.
However, textbooks are expensive and every university represents a ready market for a psychology textbook that cost a fortune and disappears the minute its owner turns his back on it.
Angel Kumar, a first year computer science student, said: “It would be nice to go to the bathroom in peace and not have to pack up your stuff every time you want to go look for a book or something.”
Dumoulin feels that a petty thief (or thieves) is at the root of the problem.
The thefts usually occur in the early afternoon when a number of items are stolen within a short time. Similar thefts, at different intervals, have occurred at other universities. This has led authorities to believe that the Webster Library has become just another stop along the thief’s circuit.
McGill Security spokesman Paul Barbarie agreed, and described how McGill’s female students are specifically told to keep an eye on their purses.
Concordia’s security has increased its presence within the Webster Library as well as at Loyola’s Vanier Library. This has reduced the number of thefts, but it has not entirely eliminated the problem.
Agents are dropping off leaflets in library study areas where personal property is left unattended. These pamphlets warn students that those items could have been easily stolen.
Students are being asked to immediately report any suspicious person or behavior to security, and personnel are being asked to be aware and alert as to the problem of theft in the university’s offices, classrooms and libraries.
As much as Dumoulin admitted that he would very much like to catch the thief in
action, he said that the best approach is to reduce the opportunity for such thefts at all times.
“Nobody steals if there’s nothing to steal.”

Tavern talk
A Danier leather jacket may cost you $295 at their retail outlets. Sold in a tavern on the corner of Wolfe and Ontario, it just might cost you $30. (However, it does not come properly wrapped in its box.)
Laptops bought for more than a thousand dollars in any reputable store are worth only a couple of hundred as they are too easy to trace, especially if they are connected to the Internet. They usually get exported to the third world.
Compact disc players are worth twenty to thirty dollars each, and nobody will bother to trace them through their serial numbers.
Purses, along with their credit cards and cash, have an obvious value. The keys, along with the address, are sold to willing buyers for a nominal fee.
Textbooks are generally worth a quarter of their retail price to willing buyers, and the university has many students who cannot pass up such bargains.
– Albert S

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