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Police: Raleigh man stole copper from locked labs at NC State

Posted November 22, 2011

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— North Carolina State University police arrested a man earlier this month who they say relied on the common courtesy of others to get into locked campus laboratories to steal copper.

Mark Haynes Fogel, 39, of Raleigh, is accused of stealing 20 to 30 pounds of copper parts used in lab experiments on campus on at least five separate occasions. He was arrested at his home Nov. 14.

Investigators took surveillance video to local scrap yards to identify Fogel and said he might be responsible for several other copper thefts earlier this year.

Though many campus laboratories require a key to get in, police say Fogel waited for someone with access to go in and then followed behind them.

N.C. State senior Richard Pryately said Tuesday that it's not uncommon to hold the door open for someone on campus, even when entering a locked building.

Capt. Ian Kendrick Common courtesy opened door to crime at NC State

"I'd generally say, if you look like a student and not just some random person off the street, you normally let them in," Pryately said.

Police, however, said it's better to risk being impolite than to let a criminal onto university property.

"You don't know for sure that the person coming in behind you is supposed to be in that building or in that lab or in that dorm," said Capt. Ian Kendrick. "We're doing a nice thing, (but) we don't know if we are necessarily letting in a nice person."

Kendrick advised students and staff to only hold the door for people they know and ask people they don't to use their own key.

"Sometimes people get complacent, and criminals are going to take advantage of that," he said. "Unfortunately, this person's research or lab work may have walked out the door because of a lapse in security or attention."

9 Comments

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  • Scare Crow Nov 23, 2011

    poor crook, looks like he lost his best friend. Don't worry you're going to make new ones. lol

  • Iworkforaliving Nov 23, 2011

    Rico, get over yourself.
    The article NEVER stated nor implied anything like that. YOU have race on the brain or whatever there is of a brain. Most of the "racists" left in society today are people of color. Because you are the only ones who see a difference between one color and another. Most everybody else is colorblind. I personally think you just need something to complain and stomp your feet about.

  • LBJ192 Nov 23, 2011

    "In other words white only can get a door held for you...black only gets one closed in your face"

    Do you think there are no minorities at NCSU? Good try though.

  • more cowbell Nov 23, 2011

    Busted. If he read the paper at all he would know that scrap yards are being monitored just like pawn shops and have been for about a year! If you've got time to think up this scheme you've got time to go find a JOB!
    Here2tellya

    Not all pawn shops are monitored. Construction tools in most shops are even engraved with a company name but the pawn dealers know the law protects them. They ask for no proof of ownership and rely only whatever fake ID the thief uses that particular day. Arrow Pawn and Jewelry is the worst. That's usually where I can find our stolen company tools.

  • tran Nov 23, 2011

    The latest Copper price on kitco.com is $3.26/lb. I don't know whether local metal dealers will pay that much. They have to turn a profit.

  • Rico Nov 23, 2011

    I'd generally say, if you look like a student and not just some random person off the street, you normally let them in," Pryately said.
    In other words white only can get a door held for you...black only gets one closed in your face.

  • Beachnut Nov 23, 2011

    At current copper prices, he likely would be able to sell 30 pounds for $50-60, but only if he could find a scrap yard that would take it without turning him in. Pathetic...

  • wigi Nov 23, 2011

    How much money did he make I wonder? Just curious.

  • Here2tellya Nov 23, 2011

    Busted. If he read the paper at all he would know that scrap yards are being monitored just like pawn shops and have been for about a year! If you've got time to think up this scheme you've got time to go find a JOB!