University of Vermont Police say there's a thief on campus and they're hoping you can help them crack the case.
Sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, investigators say a crook broke into the Old Mill building, targeting the first floor computer lab. Fourteen laptops were swiped.
The stolen laptops were used for homework and research. They did not contain sensitive information.
"Think about the nursing student," UVM Police Lt. Larry Magnant said. "She's got all her homework, all her medical research on that and it's gone. That hits pretty hard."
Police say the lab's door is locked at night and the building cannot be opened without a security access card. But an employee said he noticed a window inside the lab was pried open and the laptop security locks appeared to be removed. Police do not believe the lab is monitored by surveillance cameras, nor are they convinced this break-in is linked to other recent thefts on campus.
"We don't have any specific information at this moment to tie this specific incident in with any of the others, but at the same time, we're keeping an open mind about that," Magnant said.
On Monday, police released a sketch of a man believed to be in his 20s and about 6-feet tall, seen rifling through belongings in a campus office. Investigators now believe he's behind a rash of purse, cash, cellphone and computer thefts last week.
Until a suspect is caught, some students are taking extra precautions.
"I never leave my stuff behind," said Kayo Nhai, a UVM senior. "I used to ask some people, 'Can you watch my laptop for me when I'm going to the bathroom?' I never do that anymore. I take all my stuff. I can't really trust other students because maybe they're the ones."
Police have put extra officers on the case and they're looking online for suspicious computer sales. They warn potential buyers to be wary of any private sales.
If you have any information about the thefts or suspicious activity in or around the computer lab, you're asked to call UVM Police at 802-656-3473.
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