Unattended Possessions Taken in String of Thefts

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.

Over the last week and a half, valuables have been stolen from several students while they left them unattended, according to Director of Public Safety Owen Redgrave. One student’s laptop was stolen on a Sunday afternoon while he was briefly out of his dorm room, leaving his door open. Three other students left cameras or cell phones in Tarble, one in plain sight and two of them inside coats, only to find their possessions gone when they returned.

Redgrave said Public Safety has no leads in any of these incidents.

This is not the first incidence of unattended property theft this year, even on our relatively safe campus: in October, there was a string of backpack thefts, mainly from McCabe. There have also been a few other high-profile thefts, as when several non-students attempted to steal speaker wire from LPAC and others took a monitor from the library.

There is no reason to believe any of these former thefts are connected to the current ones, according to Redgrave, besides from noting that “valuables left unattended and unsecured are likely targets for thieves.”


  1. This is getting out of hand. I hope that if you have ever stolen something and you read this, you are feeling obligated to return these items to public safety. Thank you for making my home for four years feel unsafe.

  2. Since you can’t bring any backpacks into the food area at Tarble, there’s often no other choice but to leave your valuables unattended. What are you supposed to do?

  3. I tried to bring my backpack in there once and they were not having it. I guess I need to take a page from your book & work on having a more trustworthy facial expression.

  4. Although I’m only a sophomore, last year I left my stuff anywhere and everywhere with no worries. I left my laptop, backback, wallet, phone etc. in mccabe while I went to dinner or out parrish beach while I went down to Dunkin Donuts, and I have never felt the need to lock my door. That was part of what made Swat so great. Clearly I can’t do that anymore. Is it really too much to ask that I be able to trust that fellow students won’t take my stuff? Not all of these thefts can be due to nonstudents…

  5. It could all be non-students—most are in McCabe, which is very public. To the best of my knowledge, no student has been caught for theft in the past few years (I’ll be trying to figure more out on this shortly.)

  6. the Tarble definitely should arrange a secure place to leave our (ones with not-quite-trustworthy faces) belongings or they should let us in with our backpacks.

  7. uh, I’d say that leaving your laptop/wallet in McCabe is a terrible idea. You can always approach the circ desk and ask a librarian if they’d mind keeping the laptop behind the reserve stacks for an hour or two or whatever. I’ve done it a ton of times (a librarian suggested it to me).

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