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UMass and Smith Join To Investigate Thefts


AMHERST, Mass.--Security officials for the University of Massachusetts and nearby Smith College say they will join forces to plan investigations of a rash of dormitory burglaries at the two schools.

Arthur L. Hilson, director of public safety for the university, said Wednesday that when students living in the McNamara Hall dormitory returned from the month-long midsemester break this week they found about $10,000 worth of computer equipment, television sets, answering machines, stereos and other items missing from 19 rooms.

Most of the rooms hit were on the 7th and 8th floors of the dorm, which houses about 400 students, he said.

Sharon Rust, director of public safety at Smith College in Northampton, said about $30,000 and $50,000 worth of audio, video and computer equipment was taken over the semester break from five of the 16 fourbedroom apartments at the Friedman House dormitory at the women's college.

She said the first theft was reported on Jan. 10, but campus police said the burglaries took place between Dec. 24--the first day the dorm was vacant--and Jan 2.

There was no sign of forced entry in the burglaries at either school, she said, and other similarities have led police on both campuses to investigate possible connections.

No similar incidents were reported at three other nearby colleges, Amherst, Hampshire and Mount Holyoke, officials said.

Hilson also said that more than $8,000 worth of computer equipment and facsimile machines were reported taken from Fernald Hall, a classroom and laboratory building, over the weekend. But police said entry appeared to be forced in that theft.

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