Books stolen from sociology display

The stolen books, authored by faculty members, were valued at $500.

A number of books was stolen from the University’s sociology department over the weekend.

Yoonie Helvig, a staff member in the department, called police Monday morning to report eight books missing from a display case.

Helvig estimated the books to be worth $500.

Despite the books’ value, sociology department chairman Chris Uggen said another unlocked case nearby contains books that are likely worth more than those that were stolen.

There was no evidence of major damage to the display case, but a small piece of wood was missing near the lock, according to the police report.

The display case contained a number of works by department faculty members, Uggen said.

“What we like to do is show people what some of the recent work that our faculty have been doing,” he said. “It’s kind of a good conversation starter.”

Not all of the books in the case were taken, but a “significant number” was, Uggen said.

Sociology professor Doug Hartmann had one of his books stolen, but jokingly said that having his work among those taken was “kind of a privilege and an honor.”

“I usually can’t give copies of those things away,” he said with a laugh. “I’m glad mine weren’t not stolen – I mean, that would be embarrassing.”

There are currently no suspects, according to the police report, but Uggen said he thinks it was someone simply looking for “some quick cash.”

Uggen, who teaches a course on delinquency theories, joked with his class that there “didn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason to what was taken.”

The reporting officer checked with the bookstore in Coffman Union and the Student Bookstore at 15th Street and University Avenue Southeast to confirm the books hadn’t already been sold there, according to the police report.

The officer also checked with Oak Street Textbooks, but found that the store doesn’t keep records of books bought back.

The books would probably not be used in a class, Uggen said.

While the bookcase was locked, Uggen said the books are not kept under high security.

Currently, department members are considering options to prevent future thefts.

Uggen called the theft disappointing, and said the books were a source of pride for faculty members.

“It’s something you put your heart and soul into and you think of it as the intellectual expression of your work,” he said. “It stings a little more than somebody stealing office equipment.”