ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A University of New Mexico grad student, who is also a teacher, is starting from scratch after a brazen thief stole years of his work right out of his classroom.
“At first I thought it was one of my friends in the department playing a prank on me, moving my stuff,” Stefan Batista said.
Batista is a second year fine arts grad student who also teaches undergrads Introduction to Photography.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, someone stole some of his most important items.
“I was in a critique room, which is a different room from my classroom, and unfortunately the door was left open,” he said.
It was during that period of 40 minutes when he and his class were gone that someone came into the room and stole his stuff.
“My laptop, a brand new digital SLR camera and a hard drive containing lots and lots of work,” he said.
The camera and laptop are each priced in the low thousands-dollar range.
The hard drive doesn’t cost as much, but it contains irreplaceable photography and grad student work.
“I would happily just have [the hard drive] back,” he said. “They can have the gear, it’s the work that I really want.”
UNM says it’s not aware of a problem of stuff being stolen out of classrooms, but reminds students that the University is public and that anyone can access the buildings.
Batista hopes whoever stole his stuff will feel even an ounce of sympathy and return it.
“And this kind of setback, one where your hard work goes away and the tools you need to make that work goes away, yeah that’s pretty defeating,” he explained.
Batista created flyers to help spread the word about his stolen things. He also created a GoFundMe account to help fund the purchase of new gear.