Seven MacBook computers are missing from the Art Building at the University of North Alabama. The incident was reported to the UNA Police Department Jan. 16 at approximately 1:30 p.m. for Burglary and Theft of Property.
“We do have a possible person of interest, but at this time we do not have any leads on where the MacBooks have been taken,” said Les Jackson, UNA Interim Chief of Police.
Before this statement was issued, art students had not received any information about what happened to the MacBooks. Instead, they were forced to fill in the gaps themselves.
Sjaan McCargar, a freshman digital media major, said many of the students in her digital media class would walk into the mac lab and notice that they were slowly disappearing.
At first, the students suspected that the MacBooks with problems were being repaired.
“The Macs are about three or four years old,” McCargar said. “[A few of them] had notes on them from staff that said that they were not working.”
McCargar said this did not seem likely since not all the MacBooks with notes on them were taken.
“We were confused,” McCargar said. “They just left the keyboards and mice. You would think that [whoever was fixing the Macs] would take everything with them, look at them and return them.”
However, this assumption did not last long. Students were soon informed by their professor that the computers had been stolen.
“I was kind of curious,” McCargar said. “How are people walking away with these huge MacBooks? You would think an umbrella or a phone [might be stolen], but never a whole MacBook. Shedding light that this is happening, it allows people to realize, ‘Hey we do need to lock doors, we do need to have a bit more security.’”
A few of the art classes that were held in the mac lab are currently moved to the McKinney Center, whereas small classes and clubs continue to meet. In a lot of ways, this transition has been a “convenience.”
While the art department has multiple steps of security, such as a lab assistant and outside cameras, they do not have cameras inside of the classroom.
“I don’t know [why there aren’t an cameras in the classroom],” said Nicholas D’Acquisto, a visiting assistant professor in the art department. “Ever since I’ve been here there has not been any. Now [that] we’ve transitioned my students into the McKinney Center, there are cameras everywhere. It is a nicer space … [and] all we have to do is swipe a card and that’s how we get in.”
D’Acquisto said although the art building has multiple steps of security, there are always loopholes.
“Somehow, the door got unlocked to the room and I don’t know when it was locked again,” D’Acquisto said. “Whoever did this was watching, in my personal opinion. They were watching and waiting for the right moment, and they struck. But I cannot confirm any of that.”
With the move to the McKinney Center, students do not have access to Macs. Instead, they are getting the opportunity to work with personal computers (PCs).
“I think that my students, especially my digital media majors, need to be able to cross platforms because after they graduate, they never know where they’re going to work for and what kind of computer software they might have,” D’Acquisto said. “I think it’s actually a nice benefit for my students.”
He said the transition occuring in the middle of the semester has been a little hectic, but he does not think it is a big inconvenience.
“The art department has done everything in their power that we can possibly do [for the taken MacBooks],” D’Acquisto said. “Police were called and a report was filed. Now, it’s the cop’s turn.”
UNA Police Department, in partnership with other agencies and resources, has reached out to entities to ecourage them to be on the lookout for the MacBooks.
“They have been entered into NCIC (National Crime Information Computer) so if they were located we would be notified,” said Jackson. “Be aware of anyone offering computers at what would seem to be an unusually low price.”