Police at the University of Central Arkansas are investigating another break in at the school — this time at the mathematics and technology building where someone stole books and riffled through desks Thursday night or early Friday morning.
At least 12 books, worth about $717, were stolen from Eric Lynn Jones, a graduate mathematics student at UCA, according to a police incident report taken at 5:55 p.m. Friday night. Jones said when he returned to his office this past Friday morning, his desk drawers were open, some papers were thrown on the floor and trash that did not belong to him was in his waste basket. A couple of other people in the building have noticed missing items too, he said.
"Why someone would steal math books, I don’t know," Jones said Monday. "I don’t know if it was someone who knew what they were doing, or if it was a bunch of punks."
Jones said he didn’t notice any missing papers and the books were not filled with notes on UCA classes.
The books are from Jones’s personal library, textbooks from another university or books not easily resold, he said. Titles include the most expensive book, "Differential Equations: A Modeling Perspective," worth $215.75.
Police spokesman Arch Jones said the case is under investigation, but he could not say whether the most recent break in and thefts are related to other burglaries at UCA.
"It’s too early in the investigation for us to comment on any connections at this point," Arch Jones said.
Arch Jones is not related to Eric Jones.
Earlier this year, break ins were reported in McAllister and McCastlain halls, UCA documents show. Burglaries in offices at McAllister Hall caused the university to re-key the building. The building is the only building outside the president’s suite in Wingo Hall to be re-keyed, spokesman Jeff Pitchford said.
The most-recent burglary investigation at an academic facility comes on the heels of charges filed this month against former Chief of Staff Jack Gillean. Authorities say Gillean gave his keys to then student Cameron Stark, who used the keys to enter buildings and steal exams.
Gillean has denied wrongdoing through his attorney. Stark is no longer with the university, Pitchford said previously.
Gillean’s charges included three felony commercial burglary counts — that includes break ins at the Lewis Science Center in spring 2011. The case against Gillean remains under investigation, Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Monday. Hiland said he could not say what the "focus" of that investigation is.
Arch Jones said he couldn’t talk in detail about the commercial burglary at the math and technology building, but more broadly, he said UCA police patrol the campus in vehicles, on bikes and on foot to make sure buildings are secure.
UCA Spokesman Jeff Pitchford said UCA officials won’t specify what they are doing to secure buildings since the break ins earlier this year "for security reasons."
"We’ll always be looking at ways to make sure our system is safe," Pitchford said.
Eric Jones said he hoped university police find whoever broke into his building by looking at video surveillance, but he hadn’t heard any updates from police by 10 a.m. Monday, he said.
"It’s kind of frustrating," Jones said. "I want my books back."