Students Report Theft of Personal Property

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.

This morning, Public Safety sent out a notice via e-mail notifying the college community that there were three separate incidents of theft of student property over the past two days.

According to the e-mail, the two incidents that occurred on Tuesday, October 23rd, involved backpacks that had been left unattended. One was removed from McCabe, and the other from the Game Room in Tarble. The third incident, which occurred on Monday, October 22nd, involved a credit card being removed from a book bag. This occurred in McCabe. According to Director of Public Safety, Owen Redgrave, the student was unaware her credit card was missing until the credit card company called her, concerned about potentially unauthorized purchases being made on her card.

Redgrave explained that three factors are considered when deciding whether the college community ought to be notified of theft issues.: (1) if force has been used (2) if there is a noticeable pattern in the thefts and (3) if there is a usable description of a suspect. “We do make some exceptions to these rules, for example, if the objects stolen were highly valuable or expensive,” he says. In this case, there was a discernible pattern in the timing and location of the theft, as well as the objects stolen.

The investigation has yet to turn up any significant leads. The security cameras in McCabe, which were installed last year, may not be very useful in this incident because “without a suspect, it is difficult to know what to look for. A lot of people come in and out of McCabe on a daily basis,” says Redgrave. However, Public Safety will continue to review the tapes.

Notices throughout McCabe remind students to keep their belongings with them to prevent theft. However, many students routinely leave behind books, backpacks, and laptops in their favorite study spots. Neda Daneshvar ’10 says that she’ll “try to make sure to have friends around to watch my stuff from now on.” However, the thefts do not seem to worry many students. “I usually don’t have anything valuable in my backpack, so I’m not too concerned about leaving things behind,” says Monica Joshi ’10. Kyle Skolfield ’10 explains that he’s “not going to just leave a laptop sitting in the open, but I’ll still tuck a backpack off to the side all the time.”

Despite these attitudes, Redgrave asks students to be more cautious, and points out that most of these thefts occurred while the student was absent for only a brief period of time. Anyone with information or reports of suspicious activity are asked to call Public Safety at x8333.

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