University of Wisconsin-Madison police said they’ve seen a significant spike in laptop computer thefts on campus in recent months, prompting new calls for vigilance, WISC-TV reports. Campus police said laptop thefts are up more than 500 percent this year as compared to 2008. In most cases, the crime is completely preventable, they said. As UW-Madison junior Amanda Merikas gets ready for class at a campus cafe, she’s heeding the warnings about minding their personal property posted in many locations on campus. "I’ve seen the signs up, especially in this cafe," Merikas said. But even with the posted warnings, she said she sees plenty of others being careless with their belongings. "It’s pretty common for people to get up and leave their laptops and then go order food or coffee," Merikas said. "Some people actually ask you to watch their laptop while they go, but others don’t." UW Police Sgt. Jason Whitney said that the theft of unattended laptops is a crime of opportunity. He said they’ve investigated 21 laptop thefts since January. Authorities said laptops offer crooks a quick turnaround for cash, and they believe some common sense can go a long way to preventing the thefts. "Even though that’s a hassle–to have to pack up your stuff for the five minutes that you may be gone–it’s going to save you a couple thousand dollars," Whitney said…

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