By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
In one of the most expensive cases of on-campus burglary in years, about $15,000 of photography, video and computer equipment was stolen from the Don H. Morris Center over the weekend.
The equipment was stolen from several rooms on the third floor with no signs of forced entry, said ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison. Stolen items ranged from a $40 laptop computer bag to a $2,000 camera.
“We don’t know how access was obtained,” Ellison said. “However, we know there were some doors propped open” that would have let a burglar inside the building.
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, from whose offices all the equipment was stolen, is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the equipment.
Among the most expensive items stolen: the $2,000 camera, two $1,700 laptop computers, a $1,600 camera lens and nine still and video cameras totaling about $3,000.
More than $6,500 in cameras and photography equipment was stolen from the office of Cade White, instructor of journalism and mass communication. All the equipment was his own.
“I think I am still in shock about the loss of my personal stuff,” said White, who teaches many of the department’s photography classes. “I think the most damaging part is the loss of my personal data,” which was stored in an external hard drive stolen from his office.
“I really think it was an inside job, and that’s the most disheartening thing about it,” said Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the JMC Department. “Stealing a camera and photographs from a photographer is really stealing a person’s livelihood. It’s really cold-hearted.”
Offices across the south end of the third floor in the center were hit, including those of the Optimist, Prickly Pear, the department’s main office and those of two professors.
“They’ve hurt the faculty; they’ve also hurt their fellow students,” Bacon said. “Right now, we can’t replace this stuff.”
Ellison asked students to report any suspicious activity seen near the Don H. Morris Center this past weekend.
“There’s always someone out there who knows something,” Ellison said.
The thefts followed a string of burglaries in the Art Department, housed on the north end of the center, several months ago. Ellison said police are investigating whether any connection exists.
The JMC Department has been the victim of expensive thefts before, Bacon said, losing a $3,000 camera and a digital projector in two separate incidents. But, she said, this is probably the largest ever burglary to strike the department.
“We’ve had thefts before,” she said,” but this is the largest I can remember the department suffering.”