Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
After enjoying a vacation free of exams and deadlines, some Wharton residents came back to Swarthmore only to discover some of their possessions missing from their rooms. In addition to the customary cleaning of dorms by school staff, contractors were also present in Wharton to fix carpeting. Swarthmore has frequently used this contracting company before. It is possible “that anyone just might have come in and took something when the doors were unlocked,” claims Rhiannon Graybill ’06, R.A. of Wharton AB 2nd, where the largest number of thefts occurred.
The number of thefts “was really high, there were at least 10-15 thefts total,” adds Graybill. The belongings stolen ranged in value, the most expensive being two laptops stolen from Graybill’s floor. While some belongings stolen were very expensive and posed a great loss to those who were victims, other students reported things such as a bowl of quarters, videogames and half a set of speakers as stolen. The thieves are assumed to be amateurs; “it seems like it was a theft of opportunity, not really pre-planned,” adds Graybill.
After the thefts were reported, Public Safety began its investigation over the weekend and after the RA’s consulting with Liz Derickson, Housing Coordinator, and Stu Hain, Vice President of Facilities, the college staff began to look into the matter more. As of now, the exact culprit is uncertain. The one who is caught will face all legal formalities and be punished with respect to state law.
It is uncertain whether the college will reimburse those students who have been victims of the thefts. “The College doesn’t typically reimburse for thefts, but we feel that is a special circumstance, since the students are not at all to blame,” comments Graybill. Though it might do little for frustrated students who are missing their possessions, students are urged to be extra careful of expensive belongings and lock doors at all times.