The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 25th

Police Have Composite Of Suspect In Thefts

Student laptops were stolen from Lenoir Dining Hall, Davis Library and the Undergraduate Library.

The most recent victim confronted the suspect when he tried to conceal the victim's computer in his backpack in Davis on Friday, according to police reports.

The suspect fled with the laptop before police arrived at the scene, but the victim was able to provide police with a detailed physical description. The victim said the suspect is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds with short, wavy brown hair and no facial hair, reports state. He was wearing a dark bluish-purple and black North Face parka and blue jeans.

There is a good chance that the same person committed all three robberies, said Lt. Archie Daniel of University police's investigations department.

"Right now, we don't know who any of the three are," Daniel said. "If we get a clue who the suspect is in one, it may link us to the others."

Capt. Mark McIntyre of the investigations department said the suspect in all three larcenies appears to be a student between the ages of 18 and 22. The suspect carried a dark-colored backpack in both library larcenies, and the suspect in the Undergrad theft wore a UNC T-shirt.

But McIntyre said police are not limiting their investigation to members of the student body. "It could be a person of college age dressing to look like a student," he said.

On Oct. 3, a laptop computer was stolen from the Undergrad, and the video surveillance system provided a fuzzy picture of the suspect, Daniel said. The man's picture closely resembles the physical description of the Undergrad robber, he said.

On Oct. 22, a laptop was stolen from Lenoir by a suspect with a similar physical description, reports state.

Daniel said the most recent victim's physical description of the suspect could play a major role in solving the three crimes. Without the facial image, it would have been hard for anyone to positively identify the thief, he said.

"We have been working on the investigation, but we haven't located the guy," Daniel said. "Now that (the victim) has a face shot, we think the combination of the face shot and the video image will trigger someone's memory."

About 10 larcenies involving laptops have been reported to University police this year, McIntyre said. When this number is compared with about 60 laptop larcenies last year, the University is on pace to improve, he said.

Although there is no proof, McIntyre would not rule out the possibility that this suspect was involved in other laptop thefts. "I'm not sure about the other ones, but in any of them that the computer just walked away, he is a good suspect."

To prevent future robberies, McIntyre suggests that students do not leave their laptops unattended on campus for any amount of time. Although thefts might be down, students still have to be careful with their computers, he said.

"When a couple-of-thousand-dollar piece of equipment is lying around, the opportunists will walk off with it," McIntyre said.

Anyone with information who can assist in locating or identifying the suspects can call Crimestoppers at 942-7515 or UNC investigators at 966-2120. Callers may remain anonymous.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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