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Police: stay vigilant to avoid theft

Thieves stole computer parts, a GPS system and two professors’ personal possessions Wednesday and Thursday, continuing a rash of thefts that has included over 30 bicycles and several computers.

One of the professors, Sylvia Diehl, stepped out of her office momentarily Wednesday afternoon to speak with a colleague four doors away and returned to find that her wallet had been stolen from her purse.

Diehl, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is no stranger to this type of crime – she lost her wallet nearly a year ago in similar circumstances.

A thief also stole the cell phone of the professor whose office is next to Diehl’s.

Diehl will take extra precautions in the future.

“You feel very safe in your office … and you’re not. You have to be very vigilant,” said Diehl. “Even if I’m going to go talk to somebody, I’m locking my door for sure.”

According to University Police, computer parts were stolen from the Physics Building on Wednesday night. The thief removed the hard drive, graphics card and memory stick from one computer.

The GPS system was stolen out of a car in Lot 35 Thursday.

UP spokeswoman Meg Ross calls these incidents “crimes of opportunity” because the items stolen were easily accessible to a thief.

People should routinely lock the doors of their cars and keep valuable items out of view, Ross said. Faculty and staff, she added, should keep their purses and wallets locked in filing cabinets and lock their offices when they step out, even for a moment.

USF spokesman Ken Gullette encourages students to come forward if they see anything suspicious.

“We hope whoever is doing it is caught. Crime of this type – or any type – is intolerable,” he said. “At a time of budget cutbacks, someone coming in and stealing our equipment is certainly not doing us, or the students, any favors.”

Christine Gibson can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or