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Vermont man arrested in connection with theft of laptops from UMass library

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts police arrested a Vermont man in connection with the thefts of laptop computers from students at W.E.B Dubois Library. A dozen of the machines were taken during the month of April.

Christopher J. Desjardin, 30, of Colchester, was arrested at 11:30 a.m. Monday on a charge of larceny over $250, said Deputy Police Chief Patrick Archbald.

Archbald said Desjardin was first identified as a possible culprit by a student who chased him April 18 after her laptop was stolen. Archbald said Desjardin was then observed during particular hours at the library by victims and surveillance cameras.

“He appeared older than student age and his comings and goings coincided with many of the larcenies,” Archbald said.

Using all this information, police staked out the library Monday morning and when they saw Desjardin appear to take an item, followed him back to his vehicle, where he admitted to officers that he had taken a laptop

Coinciding with his admission was a report from a student who told police her unattended computer was taken from the library.

“We have good reason to believe he’s responsible for a number of laptop larcenies,” Archbald said.

Police obtained a search warrant for Desjardin 1999 Chevy Blazer.

Archbald warned students to be careful about protecting their valuables, noting that laptops store many of their important documents.

“It’s quite devastating when they have all their work, sometimes from freshmen year,” Archbald said.

In 2012, more than 70 laptops were stolen campuswide. Archbald said it is simple for students to purchase cable locks that can secure the laptop to a table and will prevent most would-be thefts.

“It’s not likely they will bring tools to cut, They are looking for an easy theft,” Archbald said.

The laptop thefts are crimes of opportunity in which the item can quickly be sold at a pawnshop outside the community.

Most of the laptops stolen appeared to be MacBooks, Archbald said.

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