Some students might think event signs or traffic equipment make funny dorm decorations.
But campus officials aren’t in on the joke, saying students who take these types of items are committing a crime — even if they don’t realize it.
10 -Traffic crossbars
5 -Special Event Signs
3 -Barricade Legs
The Department of Public Safety, as well UNC’s Department of Housing and Residential Education, asked on-campus students in an e-mail sent Thursday to return any stolen items.
“There is a misunderstanding that when (these items) get left out on campus, it becomes public domain, but that’s not the case,” said DPS spokesman Randy Young.
He added that items have been taken in the past, but this year seems to have seen more thefts than usual, adding that most thefts come after large-scale events, such as football games.
Young said that the department had begun discussing the issue in late September, and that the e-mail was sent in hopes of offsetting on-campus equipment thefts in the future.
“If it continues, the costs would be significant,” Young said, although he said he did not know the cost of the items stolen so far.
This semester, DPS has lost 10 traffic crossbars, five special event signs and three barricade legs to presumed thefts.
The e-mail promised amnesty for students returning their stolen items before fall break, with no questions asked. It requested that students return any stolen equipment to their residence hall’s community office.
The e-mail also reminded students of room inspections conducted over winter break by housing staff.
The inspections are conducted every semester and do not directly relate to the missing items, but Rick Bradley, assistant director for the housing department, said the inspections could turn up stolen equipment.
The e-mail from housing said items found in rooms during inspections could implicate the residents of the room.
“Students who are found to have these or other state property items in their room during the safety inspections will be held responsible,” the e-mail read.
The e-mail also suggested that students who have seen these items in others’ rooms assist in getting the items returned.
Bradley said the department is trying to help students stay out of trouble for a minor offense such as this one.
“Going about it now would prevent an unnecessary situation down the road,” Bradley said.
Potential consequences for students found with this equipment could include being sent to Honor Court, Young said. Students could also be required to appear in conduct hearings, according to the e-mail.
“It does constitute theft or larceny, and that has implications for Honor Court,” Young said.
Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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