Theft in library: break-in a possible inside job

Ngoc Vo
Staff Writer

A thief broke into the university library safe, stealing between $500 and $600, according to Henry Stewart, the dean of university libraries.
A library employee, who had checked the safe before leaving Saturday, March 29, found the safe empty the next day.
According to Stewart, the university police were called to the scene immediately.
“No window was broken,” Stewart said. “We don’t know how the individual or individuals got in.”
“There was no sign of forced entry,” John McCall, university police chief said. The crime is still under investigation.
The money stolen was all cash, mostly coins, Stewart said. However, the thief did not take a $17.50 check made to the university. All laptops and computers are accounted for.
The library deposits its money on Mondays and Thursdays, so the amount stolen came from the previous Friday and Saturday, Stewart said. The money includes students’ fine payments for overdue items; however, the vast majority is change funds.
“We never had a significant amount of money,” Stewart said. “We only take in from $7,000 to $8,000 per year. Someone went into an awful lot of effort to break into [the safe]. It is in a staff-only area in a back storage room. You have to know where it’s at to get to it.”
McCall reaches the same conclusion. “The thief must have had knowledge of the safe and the combination,” he said.
According to Stewart, the employee who discovered the theft came into the library through a back door. He had not unlocked the front door.
There are two sets of stairs and an elevator leading from the first floor of Wallace Hall to the library. However, a key is required to use the elevator as well as to go through the stairs.
Everyone who is a full-time employee has the key, together with maintenance employees and university police, Stewart said. One staff member at the library had her purse stolen with her keys in it around two weeks before the theft.
There is no camera on the second and third floors of the building.
McCall said the police department has not had any valuable lead to the case. Officials are going to look at the video from the camera on the first floor of Wallace Hall, leading to the library.
“[The videos] are not something we have access to,” McCall said. “The people in the journalism department have to give us the videos. I’m sure it’s coming, it’s just slow right now.”
McCall said they are trying to find out who was in the building and had knowledge of the safe during the crime’s time frame.
Stewart said the library will accept TrojanOne cards and will set up the equipment for accepting credit cards. He also plans to install cameras in the second and third floor of Wallace Hall.
“Our plan is not to get cash anymore,” Stewart said. “It’s really unusual, most libraries never have much money in cash. Most people never think about robbing a library.
“I’ve been here 17-plus years, and the safe was here before me. It had never been broken into. The library has not had computers, printers or something like that stolen. Most people think libraries are good places, safe places.”
According to Stewart, during the weeks leading to finals every semester, there is at least one theft. Students often report their textbooks or laptops missing in the library.
“This reflects the reality that crime does happen on campus and at places we don’t suspect,” said Brian Webb, Troy library employee. “People should be more cautious of their belongings.”

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