Witness-less: Curry prof's grand larceny charge reduced

UVA Curry School of Education professor Glen Bull was in Charlottesville General District Court March 21 to face grand larceny charges involving a purse.

The incident allegedly occurred July 19 on the 400-block of East Main Street on the Downtown Mall. According to court records, the items taken included a purse, designer wallet, MacBook Air, scarf, U.S. currency, and totaled a value greater than $200, the price point for grand larceny.

The prosecution has known since within a week after Bull was arrested that the victim would be in Italy and would not able to be a witness, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Killeen told Judge Bob Downer. "We can't establish a value greater than $200 without the victim," she said, and requested that the charge be reduced to petit larceny, a misdemeanor.

Killeen also said she'd reviewed security camera footage from the unnamed establishment where the incident allegedly occurred.

Bull and his attorney, Fran Lawrence, who defended George Huguely V in the murder of UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love last year, declined to comment after the hearing.

The UVA professor is national leader in the use of digital technology in instruction, according to a 2008 UVA Today article. He's a Willis Award winner for outstanding lifetime achievement in technology and teacher education, founder of the National Technology Leadership Coalition, and the co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education.

The judge gave Bull permission to travel in April to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the National Engineering Forum, and to New York City for a 3-D Printing Conference.

The trial is set for June 3.


Would the professor in education's lesson plans for a K-12 classroom include that it is okay to steal someone's purse if it contains a gadget like a MacBook Air, so long as the thief does not already have one or can't afford one and the thief loves technology?

Does UVa's Honor Code apply to professors?

This guy actually is on camera taking somebody's purse?

Memo: President and Faculty: Circle the wagons around the Ivory Tower - we cannot let one of our superior rank fall to the hoi poloi.

This is why we are pushing for a raise for UVA Faculty. $150K a year isn't enough, the faculty will be stealing purses soon to get by.

He should be politely invited to retire. What a disgrace.

Prof. Glen Bull was paid $126,400 by UVa in 2011, according to the RT-D's database:


His attorney will probably wet his beak to the tune of at least one month's pay from Bull's salary.

I am unclear on why the prosecution willingly knocked down the charge to a misdemeanor. Why not wait until the victim is available to testify? Speedy trial laws? Nonsense. The alleged deed went down last July.

This is an unfortunate incident- though none of you know the full story or this man at all. Get over yourselves and off your high horses.

RL, you assume too much. Some know far more than you choose to believe. I'm sorry if your friend made a bad decision last July. But please do spare us the pitiful indignation.


Get. Over. Yourself.

I love it when losers who have nothing to do with their time get on blogs like this and slander decent people. I once lost my wallet and I got a call from someone who found it and they asked me to meet them somewhere to give it back to me which they did the next day. Now did they commit larceny by picking up the wallet and returning it to me? No tools they did not.

I hear that the women who lost the purse didn't even want to press charges. The CA probably just wants to up her conviction rate and show publicly that everyone in while they go after white men rather than spending all their time prosecuting and incarcerating minority men. The charges are already dropping from larceny to petit larceny and will probably be dismissed after a decent guy trying to help someone out is dragged through the mud.

This has all the indications of an air headed, do gooder, absent minded professor getting framed by an over zealous CA who wants to keep the numbers up. Bull is many things but a petty thief ain't one if them. At the end of the day I bet money on this all gets dropped when a judge sees the video and looks at who he really is. What a waste of the tax payers money and the CA and the papers should be ashamed and hopefully will give him a full public apology when it all shakes out.

But all you haters out there with no facts and just a mean spirit, keep diminishing yourselves. One day a misunderstanding will happen to you and you will be eating crow and find yourself thinking: why was I do mean to someone I didn't even know about something I knew nothing about. Come on Hook there have to be more actual stories of import. How about taking both sides and looking at the CA as the problem here?

Having a UVA ID protects you from prosecution in C'ville. Even rape. Isn't that right Libby?

Sean still seems to be jealous that he never managed to get one of those ids.

Notwhatitseems must be the good professor himself, or a family member. Keep spinning, sparky!

Maybe he's starting off small, hoping to offend his way into a seat on Cville City Council or the AC Board of Supervisors.

Oh come on notwhatitseems. This is exactly as it seems. The absent minded ed tech professor wanted a mac air, saw one, and tried to swipe it. Cops don't arrest a person for larceny unless they are caught red-handed and if Dr. Bull had any believable explanation at all, he would have never been arrested. I would think Uva would take this opportunity to get rid of this dinosaur and replace him with someone smarter and more honest.

I just wonder, all of you who are certain he was stealing because he wanted a macbook air: have you seen the video? The police report? Who filed the complaint in the first place?

I want to add: Bull almost certainly has grant funding which can cover the cost of likely more than just one Mac product - he very likely can use that funding to buy himself and his graduate students equipment. These things would remain the property of the university, but he could certainly use them as intended: portable devices to travel with you.

To non-resident taxpayer - You may be right. Material gain is only one reason people steal. In fact, when one takes something one does not need or which one could procure otherwise, the more likely that person is stealing to satisfy a symbolic need rather than a material need. As any psychoanalyst could tell you, when someone steals for symbolic reasons, they may be stealing attention, love, milk, a penis, or some other valued or "hypercathected object."

When I was a graduate student at Curry, Glen Bull was a pretty awful person to work for and be around. He was then a deeply insecure and troubled man, but a very powerful one. All of us around him suffered his caprices, his disapproving silences and high-soaring anger jags. I can't imagine that his emotional health has improved in the past decade, especially since he operated unchecked by Curry. Within a week of knowing him, I suspected bi-polar disorder. Untreated, these cases never improve with age.

While I knew him, he was an extraordinarily dishonest person, but his dishonesty was under deep cover, and always seemed aimed at harming the reputations of his colleagues and undermining the emotional well-being of his students. When I first read the arrest article months ago, I wasn't surprised. I immediately thought that he was at some Curry School function and that the purse belonged to a student or colleague for whom he bore a grudge and with whom he wanted to screw, causing her the terror of lost valuables and the hassle of dealing with the cancellation of credit cards and the issuance new ID's, etc.

Of course, I didn't think that he'd actually stolen the items for material gain. When I knew him, he possessed a Javert-like honesty at this level. Besides, Dr. Bull had ways of getting every piece of technology he could need or want, and he lived a frugal life. Yet, also like Javert, the only thing he could never, ever get enough of was power, and the intense thrill he received in exercising it, especially to the detriment of others. I believe Hugo calls it "the evil of good."

Because of his "good" reputation up to this point, I believe that UVa. will protect Dr. Bull. It's just the way things operate, unfortunately, which is troubling for those of us who worked so hard and so honestly to get Virginia diplomas. Shamefully, everyone employed at Curry knows what Dr. Bull is and how he operates. They certainly did while I was there. Even his most staunch defender, NotWhatItSeems, admits "Bull is many things but a petty thief ain't one [of] them." I agree. He is many things, and taking someone's belongings to cause them grief and pain is in no way petty. There's evil at play.

That's how Dr. Bull operated when I knew him. He never pulled a stunt like this, or at least he was never caught, but he was always working to harm someone. Always. An "air headed, do gooder, absent minded professor" Glen Bull ain't, although I'm sure that's the tact his high-priced criminal defender will take. When I knew him, he was supremely selfish, supremely shrewd and a genius at mean-minded manipulation, the best I've ever seen in fact. And for those of us who make our livings in academia, that's saying a lot.

Even forgetting my years of experience with him, ignoring what I know about him, giving him the benefit of every doubt, I can't shake the notion that no professor of any stature should ever be stupid enough to find himself in a situation like this. If he were genuinely trying to help this woman, he should have stood by the purse/computer and phoned the police. They would have arrived within minutes. In the years I knew him, however, Dr. Bull never genuinely tried to help anyone. Why would he start by taking a purse/computer home with him? This looks terrible for The University of Virginia. This incident will forever pop right to the top of any internet search of Glen Bull's name, right along with the names of Curry and UVa. What an embarrassment.

Since he'll ultimately be protected, I do sincerely hope that whomever has -- titular -- authority over Dr. Bull these days quietly uses this incident to stop ignoring his behaviors and exercise some real authority over him. I hope they'll quietly reduce the amount of leverage he has over his students, and I hope they'll quietly insist on psychotherapy for him as a condition of his further employment. It's doubtful that it'll do any good, though. An ego like Dr. Bull's cannot allow him, even quietly, to admit culpability for any of his actions.