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Burglar Steals Chips From Computers at University

February 19, 1996

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A man slipped into a crawlspace under a university computer room and hid there until the center closed, then removed computer chips from 64 of the 90 computers in the room, police said.

Campus police at Carnegie Mellon University said the thief sneaked in through a trapdoor used to get under the computers for repairs and hid until after closing at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Custodial workers saw the man dart out one door of the computer lab as they opened a second door at about 3 a.m.. He escaped into another campus building.

``He had a 20-yard start,″ said Jim LaPaglia, chief of campus police.

Police think the thief was a student because he wasn’t wearing a coat and knew the campus well enough to get away.

LaPaglia said he did not know how many chips were taken or how much they were worth. Chips, which store and process information, cost from $50 to thousands of dollars.

Police found a specialized tool they believe the thief used to open the computers, and they took hair and fiber samples from the computers.

LaPaglia said about $200,000 worth of computer equipment was stolen from the university in 12 incidents from July to December last year.

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