Yet another laptop was stolen from a student’s room in Worcester College late on Friday evening.
The incident is the latest in a long line of thefts around Oxford in the past few weeks. Developments in the Harris Manchester College theft have lead to a man in a green coat being identified as a suspect.
In the latest incident, the laptop was stolen from first year student Sara Lawson’s room while she was at a choir rehearsal. She returned to find her laptop gone and went straight to the lodge to report it.
“The porters were amazing. They phoned the police pretty much straight away and had me fill out an incident form while they called the Assistant Dean, who then came up with me to have a quick look at my room.”
She added: “The College reacted very quickly and have done the best that they could, which is really reassuring and I’m really grateful for. The CCTV is being looked over and my door lock will be changed.”
The police sent two people round on Friday night, who took a statement from Lawson and looked around the room. On Sunday, a Crime Scene Officer dusted for finger prints but didn’t manage to find any evidence that way.
Lawson said the police have been in touch with her about the investigation’s progress but that there is not much chance of a conviction unless they find the laptop on someone or being sold.
Domestic bursar for the College Steve Dyer sent an email round to students asking that “all members be particularly mindful of security at this time; locking doors when you leave rooms and not letting unknown people ‘tailgate’ you through entrance doors and gates into the College.”
‘Tailgating’ has been identified as the main way in which the thieves have accessed the various libraries and colleges around Oxford which have fallen prey to this latest crime trend, and officials from all the incidents have warned students to be extra vigilant when entering restricted access buildings.
Davd Roche, head of security at Worcester College said: “The emphasis is on students not to let in people they don’t know, and if strangers do follow them in, to direct them to the porters’ lodge.
As a temporary measure the main doors of Worcester College are being closed and locked at 5.30pm every evening, instead of the usual 7.30 time.
College officials contacted the police on the same day and an officer came and took fingerprints. The theft is currently under investigation.
The college insurance will cover the loss, but Lawson said “I’m more shaken by the fact that someone was in my room when I was out of college”.
The College’s Dean Peter Darrah said: “I hope the perpertator will be caught and the laptop returned to its owner”.
So far only one laptop of at least nine stolen in the past few weeks has been recovered and only one thief arrested. It is still uncertain whether the thefts are linked, though Mat Davies, Head of Estates at the Business School, said last week that the police “believe that the robberies are definitely linked .”
The police were unable to confirm this.