Gadget grabbers cause classrooms to lock up

Brandon Zeris, Editor-in-Chief

UPJ Information Technology Vice President Jeffrey Sernell sent an email Nov. 19 to all professors asking for their help to prevent classroom electronic-devic thefts.

Five university-owned computers were stolen Nov. 16 from Pitt-Johnstown classrooms, prompting increased security measures to be put in place, including more frequent campus police patrols, Campus Police Chief Eric Zangaglia said.

The computers, factoring in university discounts, are worth an estimated $5,000, according to Sernell.

In the email, Sernell included temporary security restrictions and instructions for professors who teach in technology-ready classrooms.

VCRs and DVD players are locked down in podiums, requiring professors to call or use podium intercoms to request access from Information Technology staff members.

Sernell said unless another class is waiting to occupy the room, professors should always lock their classrooms, especially at night.

“Rooms left unattended in the evening or over the weekend are targets for theft,” he said.

No charges have been filed, but Zangaglia said an investigation is ongoing.

Zangaglia said campus police will be increasing their efforts to prevent future incidents.

“We’re trying to make limited rooms in fewer buildings available at night, and (Information Technology staff) is putting security tethers on computers,” he said.