University police catch alleged burglar

University Police Department officers arrested a suspected burglar for attempting to steal upwards of $10,000 worth of property on campus Friday night.

The suspect – unnamed in police documents – attempted to steal two ceiling projectors from the Academic Center and a MacBook Air laptop, wallet and cell phone from Gelman Library, University spokeswoman Emily Cain said Tuesday.

At about 6:30 p.m., UPD arrested the suspect and turned him over to the Metropolitan Police Department near 22nd and I streets.

A complainant reported in police documents that he saw the suspect looking at his MacBook Air laptop, wallet and cell phone before he left it unattended in Gelman. After he returned, the property was missing.

A GW staff member reported to UPD that a suspicious individual was pulling on doors and trying to enter the Academic Center, University Police Chief Kevin Hay said. Two officers arrived on scene and a third officer aided in a search for the suspect. He added that the laptop theft appeared to have occurred prior to the Academic Center incident.

UPD officers later tried to stop an individual matching the suspect’s description – a thin, black male slightly over 6 feet tall, wearing a blue coat and black pants – at the 800 block of 22nd Street, but he ran away, according to the UPD documents.

While officers were following the suspect, he threw the property at them and said someone gave it to him, according to the documents. Officers apprehended and detained him until MPD officers arrived on scene.

The Hatchet reported in December that the number of thefts on both campuses saw a 2 percent increase in 2010, from 397 reported thefts in 2009 to 404 reported thefts in 2010. Hay said the vast majority of laptop thefts occur because individuals leave their property unattended.

Gelman and the Academic Center are two of the most common sites for theft of unattended items.

Captain of Investigations and Special Operations Mark Balazik said in January that thefts increased 27 percent last fall in comparison to the fall of 2009, and robberies saw a 15 percent pike.

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