Nanaimo police estimate losses of up to $60,000 after thieves committed two separate break-ins at Vancouver Island University and made off with dozens of computers and other equipment.
The first of the break-ins happened Monday at about 5 p.m. in the media studies department, located in the Arts and Humanities buildings 340 and 345.
“The building’s open to the public and what happened is the individual got into the building, then pried open two doors within the building,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
The rooms broken into contained computers, plus audio and video equipment.
O’Brien said several dozen computers were taken over a period of about two hours during the theft, which happened in daylight.
“The theft is in the range of about $40,000 to $60,000,” O’Brien said.
Investigators determined the time of thefts through a sensor system that records the time when someone enters the rooms. Someone came and went multiple times during the theft, likely loading the equipment into vehicle waiting outside, O’Brien said.
“Although no alarm was set off because the building is accessible to the public, we know that there were numerous trips to carry the equipment out and it took several hours to do that,” O’Brien said.
Given the length of time and that the building lies adjacent to a busy road and parking, police are hoping someone will have witnessed the activity and be able to provide some information that could lead to identifying a suspect or a vehicle.
The second break-in happened just before 3 a.m. Tuesday at the VIU Book Store when a glass break alarm was triggered.
An Apple-brand computer was taken along with other items.
O’Brien said security on campus spotted a man on a bicycle in the area at about 2 a.m. That person can’t be tied to the book store break-in, but police consider him a person of interest they would like to speak with.
The individual is described as Caucasian, in his mid-20s, with brown hair. He was wearing black-and-white pants and was carrying a backpack.
O’Brien said there is no security footage available of the thefts.
Anyone with information about these break-ins, please contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.