During the afternoon of Sunday 17th October, Connaught Hall – H Block resident, Amy Cloak, re-entered her room after a conversation outside, to find that her £700 Sony Vaio laptop and 8GB iPod Touch had been stolen.
The theft, which seemingly took place at around 3pm, acts as a perfectly down-to-earth example of the vulnerability of student possessions in accommodation, especially when located near dense areas of local populous.
This case also emphasises the pragmatism and commitment that robbers possess when fixated upon their prey. Amy, like many of us when away from our rooms, had closed the window pane fully downwards and partially closed the curtains; but regardless, the pillagers, perhaps showing they’d eyed up the target over a number of days, painstakingly managed to slide the window upwards, using the attached internet [ethernet]cable to drag the laptop and iPod across the required distance of the desk. This is a dilemma for the university, as the ‘anti-suicide’ style windows not-long-ago installed and used at both Connaught and Monte by request of the Police, are clearly still not completely foolproof to burglary.
Adding to the unfortunate nature of the event, Emily Consentino, a fellow block resident, and situated on the other side of the bottom floor corridor, had noticed some strange activity outside her window around 30 minutes before the tragic links were made. Emily recalls: “I was distracted from my reading, having heard 2 steps moving very loudly. I decided to look up, and saw 2 males running towards the path (a path which leads to a nearby council estate) on the left….One was carrying a laptop, and both were repeatedly whispering ‘run’ to each other”.
This morning – Monday 18th October – police and forensic members did a basic search of the scene, which confirmed the fingerprints of the suspected robbers. They also commented on how this was the third attempted robbery within the area, and that Portswood Constabulary have been making official enquiries into the stock-taking of nearby Second Hand shops over recent days.
Beyond this incident, as mentioned, Wessex Lane has been the scene of other petty crimes. Midway through last week, a parked car had its window smashed and a Sat-Nav device was taken. Similarly, on Saturday 16th October, a car belonging to a guest of Connaught H-Block resident, James Long, had its back window smashed in. The official line talks of natural, temperature-based disintegration, but rumours (as well as the rather precise hole) have been linked to a brick being used. Luckily, no theft was completed.