Three computers were stolen from the Women’s Resource Center on Wednesday night, Feb. 2.
The perimeter alarm wasn’t tripped and there were no signs of forced entry, leaving WRC personnel to speculate that the perpetrator entered through an unlocked door.
According to WRC volunteer Dirk Marshall, a back door may have been left open while the alarm was activated, leaving the door unprotected.
The computers-Dell PCs with flat screens valued at $2,947-were brand new, purchased with student tech fees when the WRC moved to its new 2000-square foot space in the Montgomery Building in January. The center held a grand opening celebration for the new space the same afternoon as the thefts.
The WRC shares the building with a student residential hall.
"I’m almost positive that the theft was by someone that lives in that building," Marshall said.
"There was no forced entry. They’d have had to know how to get in or been going around and checking to see if the doors had been left unlocked," said WRC coordinator Aimee Shattuck.
An official report was filed with the Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) on Feb. 3, and the ongoing investigation is being handled internally. According to director Michael Soto, CPSO has "a couple of leads we’re following."
Shattuck is grateful for the generous community response in the wake of the burglary. "People rallied to let us borrow computers from their offices. We had back-ups, so we didn’t lose a lot of actual work."
"The worst part is that it just feels violating," said Shattuck. "It makes us feel really unsafe. It’s ironic that the mission of the WRC is to create a safe environment for all women, but then people break in during the night and steal our computers."
According to Shattuck, the WRC cannot afford to replace the stolen computers. "My understanding is that the deductible we’d have to meet would be $2500. Essentially, we’d just have to buy new computers all over again, and we can’t afford to."
Shattuck stated that the WRC staff and volunteers would be taking extra measures to secure the space from now on.
"The campus safety people are wonderful, but there’s only so much they can do," said Shattuck. "I think campus safety has had their budget cut or frozen for the last few years. Enrollment is going up, but Portland State isn’t putting more into campus safety."
"It upsets me that this happened to a resource that reaches out to people in horrible situations," said Marshall. "I’ve seen so much good work happen in there."