CARBONDALE — An associate professor formerly of SIU Carbondale’s College of Agricultural Sciences is accused of stealing at least $10,000 worth of laboratory equipment from the university, some of which he allegedly attempted to resell on the internet.
On March 29, Jeremy Davis was arrested and charged with one count of theft of governmental property, of total value between $10,000 and $100,000, according to a news release from Jackson County State’s Attorney Mike Carr.
The crime is a Class 1 felony, punishable with a fine up to $25,000 and/or four to 15 years in state prison. It is a probation-eligible offense.
Davis has pleaded not guilty to the charge, according to his attorney, Thomas Mansfield.
Davis was arrested by the Southern Illinois University Department of Public Safety.
“Someone within his work area reported that lab equipment was missing, and the information we gathered during the investigation led to us interviewing him and subsequently arresting him,” said SIU Police Chief Benjamin Newman.
The missing equipment comprises a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine and a Nano Drop machine, according to Carr, taken on or about July 1, 2018.
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The machines were taken from a laboratory belonging to the College of Agriculture, to which Davis had access, Newman said. The SIU Police investigation found that Davis had attempted to sell at least some of the equipment on eBay, Newman added.
Davis was placed on leave from the university March 29, and resigned effective March 31, according to SIU Carbondale Spokesperson Rae Goldsmith.
A multi-month SIU Police investigation led to Davis’s arrest, Newman said.
Theft of university equipment by faculty or staff is not pervasive, Newman said, but this is not the first time SIU Police have investigated such a crime.
“It is not the first time that someone has been tempted by what I would consider a crime of opportunity,” Newman said. “He tried to take advantage of it.”
Davis’s jury trial is scheduled to begin July 15, according to the court records website Judici.
A profile of Davis in an SIU Agriculture publication described him as a nutrition scientist, who studied the effects of fiber consumption on inflammation, obesity and the development of diabetes.