Police look to help retrieve stolen books

” The scenario is typical- a student is working on their laptop in a public place, such as a college campus, and quickly gets up to throw their trash away or get a snack. When they come back to the table, their laptop is gone. Anyone who has been in this situation understands the sense of panic and hopelessness that overwhelms a person when they discover that a valuable item has been stolen.”

The scenario is typical- a student is working on their laptop in a public place, such as a college campus, and quickly gets up to throw their trash away or get a snack.

When they come back to the table, their laptop is gone.

Anyone who has been in this situation understands the sense of panic and hopelessness that overwhelms a person when they discover that a valuable item has been stolen.

The University of Akron Police Department wants to make sure students can instead handle the situation with a sense of control and relief.

Operation I.D. is a program that allows students and staff at the University of Akron to claim lost or stolen valuables, such as books, laptops and iPods.

For the first couple of weeks during the Fall 2009 semester, tables will be set up outside of the campus bookstores where students and staff can get their initials marked and engraved on valuable items.

The program is free and only takes a few minutes.

The number one problem for campuses nationwide is opportunity theft, UAPD Sergeant Chad Cunningham said.

Cunningham, who has been with the UAPD for nearly twelve years, explained that the University previously had a similar program.

We just jazzed it up, he said.

When students bring their valuables to the tables outside of the bookstores, officers will mark the owner’s initials on a certain page of the textbook with an invisible crayon. The mark can only be viewed by a black light.

As for laptops, the owner’s initials will be engraved into the battery compartment.

When a laptop is stolen, the owner simply needs to call the UAPD and tell them what the initials engraved on the battery compartment are, along with the make and model.

If a textbook is stolen, the owner calls the UAPD and tells them what the initials are and what page they are on.

An officer will then call the bookstore to see if the book has been sold back yet. If it has, they will check the page number the owner gave them for their initials.

Since students will soon be required to fill out a form when they sell back a book, not only will officers be able to get the textbook back, but they will also be more likely to catch the thief.

The only concern I have about Operation I.D. is that some students may not take the initiative to get their initials engraved or marked, Cunningham said.

He explained that the UAPD wants to make the program more widely known and fun.

It even has a logo.

We will be giving out stickers with a logo of Zippy with a magnifying glass, Cunningham said.

He is hoping students will put the sticker on their backpack to serve as further protection from a potential thief.

Operation I.D. is currently available, but the big kick-off will take place at the beginning of the fall semester.

Anyone who is interested in Operation I.D. this semester can contact the Community and Housing Oriented Policing unit (C.H.O.P.) to set up an appointment.