Theft of tech gadgets grows

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    By Jules Lindgren

    It?s always a good idea to have someone that will watch your back, but students should also have someone to watch their stuff.

    Lt. Doug Edwards of the Orem police department said small electronic devices, like the iPods and laptops, are most commonly stolen.

    Last week, thousands of dollars worth of iPods were stolen from Mac Something in Orem, and last weekend six laptops and two computer towers were stolen from another Orem computer business, Computer Lane.

    While a fair amount of larceny occurs in businesses and private residences, Edwards said things are most often stolen from vehicles, likely because they are easier to break into.

    Car stereos, CDs and cash are other favorites among thieves, Edwards said.

    ?Thieves are more opportunists than shoppers ? they?ll steal what?s available,? he said.

    Steve Olsen, product processing manager at Best Buy in Orem, said DVDs, CDs and video games are the items most commonly stolen from his store.

    Best Buy employs several anti-theft practices, such as keeping high end merchandise locked up, tagging items electronically and escorting consumers with high end merchandise to the registers. Because of this, Olsen said, the more expensive items are rarely stolen. However, they still have a problem with the theft of smaller items.

    ?I don?t think there?s any store that can say they don?t get something stolen from them every day,? Olsen said.

    At BYU, along with small electronic devices, backpacks go missing most often, said BYU Police Capt. Michael Harroun.

    ?Generally, when someone steals a backpack, they?re looking for a wallet, and the reason they?re looking for a wallet is because they are looking for cash,? he said.

    Harroun said that short of never buying stuff, students can protect their possessions from being stolen by being cautious.

    ?The reason things get stolen is because people leave them unattended,? he said.

    Sometimes, leaving things alone for just a few minutes is enough. He said some thieves are not even BYU students, but others who come to BYU to take advantage of lackadaisical, careless attitudes many students at BYU tend to have.

    ?There?s an attitude that ?This is BYU and stuff like that doesn?t happen here,?? Harroun said.

    He said if students do need to leave their things for a little while, they should ask a fellow student to watch their stuff. Also, students should be sure to lock car doors, front doors and lockers.

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