By Josh Oldham
SEVERAL THEFTS occurred on the Washington Street Campus over the winter break, KACV in Parcells Hall being hit the hardest.
The Amarillo College police department estimates the stolen property, which included three laptops, to be worth over $8,500.
AC Police Chief Mike Duval attributed the thefts to several factors, including the ongoing construction in the Byrd Business Building, which allows for easier access to Parcells Hall and the television station. The tighter budget the college is facing after last year’s significant cuts also are a contributing factor, Duval said.
“There’s a period of time when we’re not working,” Duval said. “It used to be 24/7. Due to the budget cutbacks, we can’t do that.”
Duval said that the problem also might lie with people who have access to the building not locking up correctly.
Linda Pitner, KACV-TV general manager, said a construction project began at the onset of the holidays and as a consequence, there was quite a bit of traffic in Parcells.
Because KACV does not close for the holidays, the building was not locked down like most of the other buildings on campus, making entry easier.
Pitner said even with the building as it is, the laptops and other items that were stolen were not easily available.
“Whoever came in the building and did that took some time and effort to find these pieces,” she said. Though keeping track of who comes and goes from the KACV offices is a priority, Pitner said the theft has increased the awareness of factors that contribute to easy access to their facilities.
The increase in awareness has not been limited to Amarillo College faculty and staff. The construction workers also have become more watchful.
“They had no idea of who should be in the building and who shouldn’t, nor is it their job to worry about that,” Pitner said.
The construction workers now are trying to be more mindful of the security of the site, said Bruce Cotgreave, AC physical plant director.
The physical plant oversees construction, renovation, repair and maintainence projects at AC.
“They were disturbed about it,” Cotgreave said.
ACPD confirmed that at least two of the stolen laptops have been recovered. They are being examined by the IT department for any damage or corrupted data before being returned to KACV.
“We’re very excited about it,” Pitner said.
She said if the laptops had not been recovered, KACV would be faced with finding enough money in their budget to replace them.
“We’re very grateful that two of the three have been found,” she said.
“Now what we’re hoping that they’re not damaged, that they’re in great shape and we can move forward.”