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Volume 70, Issue 77, Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Hofheinz a little messier with toilet paper caper

By Barry Roseler
The Daily Cougar

More than 100 rolls of toilet paper and a dozen packs of paper towels have disappeared from Hofheinz Pavilion in the past two months, and University officials are still trying to figure out why.

There are two possible explanations for the problem: one, that the toilet paper and towels were misplaced, or two, that someone stole them.

UH Plant Operations and campus police are both leaning toward No. 2.

University officials are trying to figure out who has stolen more than 100 rolls of toilet paper and a dozen packs of brown paper towels from rest rooms in Hofheinz Pavilion in the past two months.
Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar

"We are working with the police very actively to find the perpetrator," said David Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations. "This is the first time this has been a problem. It is a very random occurrence."

The thefts occurred most recently between Jan. 10 and 11, when 15 rolls of toilet paper and 12 packs of brown paper towels vanished from a storage closet. Earlier in January, 27 rolls were taken from the men's and women's rest rooms; the same thing happened in November and December, when a total of 68 rolls of toilet paper were stolen.

The thefts seem to have happened during the day, which doesn't help the investigation.

"I'm not sure how to steal 36 rolls of toilet paper in the daytime," Irvin said. "You would think it would be noticeable seeing someone walking down the street with 36 rolls. Once we find out how, we can find out who to prosecute."

Because the University buys its paper goods in bulk, and the toilet paper isn't exactly double-quilted quality, the cost of the purloined rolls is relatively small.

"I believe it is worth roughly a couple hundred dollars." Irvin said. "The expenses came out of the maintenance budget."

The UH Police Department is trying several loss-prevention techniques including a mandatory inventory for each custodian after every shift. Officers could not comment on the case because an investigation is still under way.

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