SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah State University employee accused of stealing computer hardware from the school was charged Thursday.
Terry Jason Trinkella, 34, of Hyrum, Cache County, was charged in 1st District Court with four counts of burglary and theft, both third-degree felonies; theft, a class A misdemeanor; and three counts of theft, a class B misdemeanor.
According to a search warrant affidavit, USU police had been investigating ”a series of computer hardware thefts from three buildings on the USU campus located in close proximity to one another. The thefts include computer hard drives, wireless network cards and an Apple Surface Studio computer. The thefts occurred in classrooms that are used for the purpose of transmitting USU courses electronically and are thus kept in an unlocked and accessible state.”
On July 9, a computer was taken from the biology building, the warrant states. Because the building is under construction, there are limited entrances, according to the warrant. Police checked surveillance cameras and found video of Trinkella, who works for USU Facilities.
“According to the footage, Trinkella exited ... carrying a large square item wrapped in a garbage bag under his right arm. The item was consistent in size and shape to an Apple Surface computer, which is best described as an all-in-one computer where the monitor also contains all of the computing hardware,” the warrant states.
On July 16, police spotted Trinkella’s work vehicle on campus and “noticed several hard drives wedged under the front driver’s seat,” according to the warrant.
“Upon entering the vehicle, officers discovered several items of computer hardware that would not commonly be found in a work vehicle designated for heavy equipment and/or landscaping. Among those items were several hard drives, a graphics card and an electronics tool kit used for installing and removing hardware from computers.”
According to a return to the search warrant, officers seized a laptop, several hard drives, SD cards and other computer parts.