MU student arrested on suspicion of stealing computers

Friday, October 12, 2007 | 6:22 p.m. CDT; updated 10:20 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MU police arrested an MU teaching assistant Wednesday in connection with the theft of 14 laptop computers from the German and Russian Studies department.

Marina D. Somers, 27, of Columbia was arrested on suspicion of stealing in connection with the theft of the laptops, which had been locked in a computer lab in MU’s General Classroom Building, where the department is located. Somers, who was enrolled as a master’s student in German, was also arrested on a warrant.

According to a probable cause statement filed in the 13th Circuit Court, MU police arrested Somers just before the class she was teaching, Elementary German I, was scheduled to end.

Somers’ Facebook page indicates she attended Rock Bridge High School and completed a degree in international studies from Stephens College.

Court documents also state that three of the computers had been pawned at Family Pawn Shop, 2416 Paris Road.

Brian Mayse, manager of the pawn shop, said his store is out $525 from the sale and has returned the laptops to the MU Police Department.

Carsten Strathausen, the chairman of the department, said Somers is no longer employed as a TA.

“The department, in agreement with the college, has already terminated her,” Strathausen said.

Somers made an initial court appearance Friday via teleconference from the Boone County Jail, where she is being held on $4,500 bond.

Because of the incident, Strathausen said, the department has changed its policy about who has access to the department’s laptops. Before, many people in the department had access to the computers; now, they must be signed out, and only a secretary or a faculty member can release them.

“Now you have to basically sign in and out,” Strathausen said. “The computers are kept in a locked office.”

Somers’ next court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 19 in the Boone County Courthouse.

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