Professor, student pursue laptop thief


It was a normal class, on a normal day, in the normal Briggs Building.

Students were working quietly and diligently on in-class writing.

And then, in the blink of an eye, the day refused to be normal.

Just before noon on Thursday, Feb. 8, a man walked into a second-floor classroom inside Briggs, grabbed a student’s laptop and immediately bolted.

English professor Joe Paszek and one student pursued the suspect down the west stairwell, out the door, through the snow and to the Livernois fence.

Just as they almost had the suspect in hand, he climbed the fence and flipped onto the other side.

He was last seen running northbound along Livernois.

Professor Cindy Spires heard the commotion outside of her office in the Writing Center and went outside to inquire about what had occurred.

She contacted Public Safety.

According to a department email days later, Public Safety is working with Detroit Police to locate the suspect, who was described as a black male, about 27, 5’10”, 160 pounds. He had a mustache at the time of the crime, and might go by the name Marco.

He was wearing a dark blue hoodie, black jeans and a skull mask over part of his face, the email stated.

This is not the first time Paszek has had to deal with a theft.

Last year, his own desktop computer was stolen from his office on the second floor of Briggs.

“Things happen so quickly,” Paszek said. “You always should be aware of where your possessions are.”

He advised that if you are going to leave the classroom, take your phone with you or slip your laptop into a bag and ask a fellow student to keep an eye on it until you return to class.

The suspect may have been casing the classroom that day before actually stealing the laptop.

Professor Amanda Hiber saw him seated in the hall and recalled that he seemed to be attempting to conceal his face.

Paszek said that if you see something, say something and that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any information on the crime or suspect, Public Safety officials ask that you call 313-993-1234.