Break-in, Laptops Stolen at Admissions

An unidentified thief broke into Shuman Admission Center last Friday, stealing two laptops and smashing a window in the process, in the second robbery in two weeks. The Admissions Office is working with Andover Police detectives and the Office of Technology to respond to the thefts. Last Friday’s break-in occurred between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Friday morning. The burglar took two laptops from upstairs offices. Because the building is not equipped with alarms, Public Safety was unaware of the break-in until Stephen Carr, Associate Dean of Admissions, entered the building at 9 a.m. and immediately notified Public Safety and the police. Public Safety’s last check of the building was at around 5 a.m. Two weeks ago, two laptops were stolen from offices upstairs in Shuman during the middle of the day, while the owners were at lunch. No one in the office noticed anybody suspicious entering or exiting the building. “It’s very weird and disturbing,” said Deborah Murphy, Senior Associate Dean of Admission. She noted that admissions officers often work late hours and the occurrence has caused them to reevaluate their safety. According to Murphy, the only stolen items in the building were laptops, and the valuable antique items in Shuman were left untouched. “I think the person had no sense of the value of the other things in the building,” she said. The Office of Technology also responded to the event. Valerie Roman, Director of Technology said, “When [the theft] happened we immediately went into incident response mode and got the people involved together internally and an outside security person.” Because the files saved on the computers were also saved on the network, no files were lost. The Office of Technology determined that important files on the laptop were password-protected and would be difficult to open. Roman said that only someone “very technically savvy” would only be able to obtain and access these files. Files containing personal information of applicants including Social Security numbers are on a more highly protected system. “Right now there is not a danger … people have been notified what not to do, but just to be proactive we are working with an outside security company on how to secure ourselves,” said Roman. Tom Conlon, Manager of Public Safety, said, “It’s concerning because we don’t expect things like that up here. No matter how vigilant we are, things happen.” After the break-in was reported, Andover Police sent detectives to evaluate the crime scene. According to Conlon, the Andover Police has been patrolling the Salem Street area more often since the robbery as an extra precaution. The police told the Admissions Office that the burglars would most likely erase the laptops’ hard drives and pawn them. The police took record of the computers’ serial numbers and sent the information to area pawn shops with the hopes of finding the stolen laptops. Conlon said “This is a very safe campus. Things do occur from time to time. We ask that students are responsible with their own property.” The last break-in on campus occurred five years ago at the Polk Center.