String of thefts hits Davenport

Davenport College students have been urged to guard their valuables following a series of thefts in September.

After four cases of computer theft struck Davenport — with three MacBooks stolen from the library and one iMac wrenched off its base in the computer cluster — Yale officials are debating how best to prevent future incidents. Though none of the computers has been recovered and Yale police have not named any suspects, Davenport Master Richard Schottenfeld ’71 MED ’76 said he did not believe anyone affiliated with the college committed the crimes.

“I don’t think this was an inside job,” Schottenfeld said. “I could be wrong. I don’t rule out anything.”

The rash of thefts began Sept. 15 when three students had their MacBooks stolen from the library while they were in the dining hall.

Danielle Wiggins ’12 had left her laptop tucked in her backpack under a couch — as she had done for three years — before going to dinner that day. When she returned, the laptop had disappeared and no one in the library knew where it had gone. Soon after, she discovered that two other students were looking for their own laptops as well, and all three contacted the police.

“It was gone in the span of 15 minutes,” she said.

Nine days later, an iMac desktop computer was ripped away from its base in the Davenport computer cluster between 2:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., Schottenfeld said.

The four incidents were among nine computer thefts reported campus-wide in September, Assistant Yale Police Department Chief Steven Woznyk said in an email Thursday.

Woznyk said Yale police are currently working with Davenport to help prevent future thefts and raise student awareness of security issues.

“Laptops are portable electronic devices. If it’s portable for you, then it’s portable for everyone else,” Michael Patten, the YPD’s other assistant chief, said Tuesday.

As part of that effort, Yale police and the Davenport College Council are encouraging students to install STOP, a three-year anti-theft tracking service, onto their personal computers for $30. Jimmy Murphy ’13, co-chair of Davenport’s Social Activities Committee, said the DCC will hold an event in conjunction with Yale police to help students install STOP on their computers. The event will take place outside of the dining hall on a currently undetermined date.

None of the stolen computers had tracking software installed, making their recovery unlikely, Murphy said.

The YPD has assigned two detectives to investigate the thefts, and YPD Chief Ronnell Higgins toured Davenport’s library and offered safety suggestions to the DCC Monday.

The DCC took action immediately after the thefts — fixing locks that had not been functioning properly and repairing two sets of doors outside the library that were too warped to shut properly. The council has also considered improving security by installing cameras in the library.

Though Schottenfeld said he was happy to see students taking steps toward improving their college’s security, he said he did not support installing security cameras in the library and would consider the step a “serious overreaction.”

“I’d hate to lose the feeling of this being a home,” Schottenfeld said. “I still want people to come into the library in slippers and pajamas. I just don’t want them to leave their valuables unattended.”

No thefts have been reported in Davenport since the fourth computer was taken.


  • ShaveTheWhales

    Install Prey. It’s free and is incredibly effective.

  • smartypants79

    Would you leave a $1,500 in cash lying out while you went to go get your dinner? Don’t leave your things unattended! There seems to be some sense that “yale students wouldn’t steal from one another, so why should i actually watch my things?” Guess what, people steal for all kinds of reasons. While yalies won’t be stealing so they can have enough food to eat, they might steal because they have some psychological compulsion, because they have scorn for their fellow students, because they need to pay for a drug habit, because they want the cash to pay for a vacation…who knows?

    Just because you are in a dorm doesn’t mean you’re in some utopian paradise where your things are always safe. Smarten up.

  • joey00

    Our hunch is : One of your on the green chum of alum strolled up and in.Just walked in,maybe hid out and waited… A relative of an employee or an actual employee ?

  • joey00

    Or an unaffiliated,unpopular,criminal from some outer limits of New Haven was released,or prereleased,or released again,way much to early for the likes of a suddenly collective and very agreeable upon this issue, Masha Monster shows up on York Street,doth emptying thine dorms,old dog poo walkways or yards. Nooks and crannies where one can find free to liberally explore one’s preference (mmm) They run out with torch in hand,leaving tea kettles aboil,and lap tops available. – Hence the crooks clean out the coiffers