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Thefts at WMBR Station Lead To Renewed Security Concerns

By Krista L. Niece

An unknown person or persons broke into the Walker Memorial offices of WMBR radio and stole several large pieces of furniture and miscellaneous other items, sometime between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

The incident raised concerns about security in Walker Memorial. “We don’t know what happened,” said WMBR member Marianna Parker ’00. “There’s no sign of forced entry.”

WMBR suspects insider in thefts

Three large black leather couches, a few power tools, and two small speakers were missing when the station opened this morning. The total value of the missing items is estimated at $3000.

In the place of the plundered items was left a small used couch.

“We suspect it is a hack, but it’s a bad one,” Parker said.

A third speaker was tampered with, but nothing else was damaged, according to Parker. They didn’t take any electronics, printers, headphones, microphones, or any of the other small valuable items in the office.

This strengthens the theory that a WMBR member was involved, Parker said. This is especially true since the office lock is changed about every six months and there is no sign of forced entry.

Even if the perpetrators were not affiliated with the station, “I think it’s some jerky MIT kids,” Parker said. “[It] was some twisted form of hack.”

“[It may have] been meant to be spiteful,” but it could have been worse, she added. “The person could have taken a baseball bat to the place.”

Walker security again questioned

Usually the station is on the air twenty to twenty-two hours a day. The break-in occurred on a Sunday night, when the station was closed. “We probably will have someone here twenty-four hours a day” for a while, Parker said. “We’re very upset.”

The group is also considering installation of surveillance cameras, according to Parker.

There has long been discussion of closing Walker completely during the night. Walker, which was the student center before Stratton was built, is still the home of many student groups, including the Pagan Students Group and the publication Rune. Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex, who is responsible for security in Walker, could not be reached for comment.

Other student groups with space in the building are concerned about the safety of their offices as well. “There was an incident in the recent past in which the door lock was found damaged, I believe,” said Pagan Students Group Vice President Nicholas T. Ingolia ’99.

“The PSG office has been broken into multiple times, with various valuables being stolen,” said Information Systems System Programmer Thomas L. Yu ’96.