Police: Raleigh man stole copper from locked labs at NC State
Posted November 22, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
"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."