Lewiston police investigate thefts at Bates College

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LEWISTON — Police in Lewiston are continuing their investigation into a series of 11 thefts and burglaries that occurred in less than one week at Bates College.

Lewiston Police Sgt. Brian O’Malley said that stolen items included a bike, laptop computer, camera, several cell phones, cash, identification cards, credit cards, an iPod, wallets and room keys. The items were stolen from various locations around campus, although many reportedly occurred in dorm rooms.

The value of the stolen items totaled more than $2,000, not including stolen items from an incomplete report that came in over the weekend.

“The kids don’t lock their stuff up, and people wander through their dorm rooms and take their stuff,” O’Malley said.

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O’Malley said that the case is being investigated by detectives after Bates College Security and Campus Safety turned over the reports on April 8 for further investigation. He said that initial reports are taken by security officers from the college and then turned over to local authorities if campus security decides that the offense warrants further action.

In this case, college officials turned over the reports due to the number of thefts that took place in such a short period of time. Calls to Bates College Security and Campus Safety were referred to its director, Tom Carey, who was not in the office Sunday afternoon.

According to the college’s Web site, which posts crime statistics for previous years, there were 33 reported robberies and burglaries in 2008, of which 23 occurred in the dorms. The 2008 number is more than six times the number reported in 2007. That year there were only five reported cases of robberies and burglaries, of which four occurred in the dorm.

Crime statistics for 2009 were not available on the college’s website.

“It’s just common sense about keeping your stuff locked up,” O’Malley warned students. “I don’t know if they just choose not to do it.”

O’Malley confirmed that police do have at least one suspect, but declined to release any other information because the cases remains under investigation.

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