Widgets Magazine

Unprecedented laptop thefts hit Green Library

ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily

ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily

Following four laptop thefts last month, the Green Library staff has engaged in an awareness campaign intended to encourage library patrons to not leave personal belongings unattended.

According to Gabrielle Karampelas, director of library communications and development, internal library records indicate that the last reported laptop thefts in Green Library were in June 2007 and January 2010, with one laptop stolen in each case.

“[Four laptop thefts] is definitely out of the norm,” Karampelas said.

Karampelas said that the stolen laptops had been left unattended for periods of time varying from five minutes to 50 minutes. She emphasized that thefts could occur even when belongings are only briefly left unattended and urged students to call the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) whenever they see something suspicious.

“Have that number, keep that number [and] keep it handy,” Karampelas said.

SUDPS spokesman Bill Larson noted that the existence of check-in stations at library entrances likely means that the recent thefts were carried out by a University-affiliated individual with library privileges.

While Green Library staff do not plan on taking any new security measures beyond ongoing efforts, they have continued their awareness campaign, which features notices posted around the library reminding students of the latest thefts and encouraging them to keep their belongings with them at all times.

“The security in the library is fairly tight,” Karampelas said.

Karampelas added that the library staff conducts library walk-throughs during which staff members attach tags to unattended laptops that warn owners that their laptop could have been stolen. More walk-throughs are planned during finals and at the beginning of quarters.

According to Larson, SUDPS staff conducted walk-throughs in the past. The department has also trained library staff to help them recognize suspicious activity.

Meanwhile, students have also been encouraged to practice their own safety measures by keeping a watchful eye on their belongings.

“I think it’s definitely put me a little bit more on guard,” said Mark Wieland ’13 M.A. ’14, who added that he has taken new measures to keep his laptop safe.

Larson said that laptops and mobile devices tend to be the biggest targets for thefts, but library staff urge students to remember not to leave less valuable possessions unattended as well.


Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith '17 is a Desk Editor from Oakland, California and is majoring in public policy. Outside the Daily, Caleb is Director of news at KZSU Stanford, the campus radio station. Have a tip or suggestion? Please contact him at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.