Freshman Charged in $15K Computer Equipment Theft

Western Carolina University freshman Colin Warren Lewis, 19, was arrested Jan. 23 for breaking, entering, and larceny in connection with the theft of approximately $15,000 worth of computer equipment from room 171 in the Belk Building.

He has been released on $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court Feb. 18.

“The arrest resulted from information received from an anonymous source,” said Gene McAbee, director of Public Safety.

The equipment stolen included six Dell Pentium IV 2.0 ghz computers, three keyboards, a Hewlett Packard laser printer, a print server, and peripherals.

“Most of the equipment was recovered in the possession of the defendant,” said McAbee.

According to McAbee, Lewis gained access to the Belk Building by breaking a window and removed the equipment by cutting the security cables that keep the equipment in place.

“Lewis parked his car between the Leatherwood and Belk buildings and transported the equipment to his car through the breezeway,” said McAbee.

McAbee said that Lewis was able to carry all of the equipment by himself because he made more than one trip.

The computers are back in use by students, but there is still just under $400 worth of equipment that has not been recovered. An exact figure has been turned in to McAbee, which Lewis will have to pay in order to replace the lost equipment.

“This is the largest computer equipment theft I can recall in my 16 years of being here,” said McAbee.

The window Lewis allegedly used to break in to the lab has been replaced, and the doors leading outside have been chained up. Improved security features are being planned for the lab.