Crime of the Century: Stolen Backpack Stuns Sleepy Campus

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.

The quiet community of Swarthmore College was stunned Friday morning as students reacted to the heinous theft of a freshman’s backpack.

“I woke up this morning on time and I was still late to class,” said the victim, Jack Corkery ‘20. “You show up to class late on a Friday morning and people judge you, you know. It’s terrible, man. I did nothing wrong.”

Corkery claims that on the morning of September 23, he awoke from his restful slumber, got in the shower, ate some breakfast, and then noticed something was awry.

“I got dressed and I looked to where I keep my backpack and there was just a pile of notebooks sitting there. I thought huh, those books should probably be in my backpack. But then it hit me, and I was like, ‘Dude, where’s my backpack?’”

The rest of the Willets community could not make sense of the crime. Corkery’s roommate, Max Katz-Balmes ‘20, was struck with terror. “This means some CRIMINAL came into our sacred room last night, while we were in our most VULNERABLE state, the state of slumber. And man, that’s scary man. I don’t know if I can sleep anymore with that image in the back of my mind.”

Corkery was adamant that he did not simply lose the backpack. He angrily said I was “victim blaming” him, and it was not fair to accuse him of doing anything in the prior night that would have caused him to leave his backpack somewhere.

George Menz ‘20, another Willets resident, said crime has definitely gotten out of hand. “It’s terrible.” He then told me he was laughing out loud, implying his comments were sarcastic or of a devious nature. His advice for Corkery was to look around campus for others with his backpack. “Nobody is going to just keep the backpack in their room. It is a tool. They will use it.”

Some students claimed that Corkery was perhaps a victim of a prank. One anonymous source with “years” of shoplifting experience said, “A real thief would have stolen everything, including what was in the backpack.” The source’s point was made even more solid by Corkery’s revelation that an Economics textbook was among the supplies left in the pile, since an Econ textbook would be a valuable item for a criminal to steal, due to its high resale value.

“That would be a sick prank though,” Corkery said. “The trauma that this has caused me has gone on far too long. I feel like there’s a line with pranks, and if this is a prank, the line has definitely been crossed.”

Mina Morisaki ‘20, a notable backpack expert, had some thoughts as to why it was Corkery’s backpack that the thief targeted. “Oakley backpacks are from California. Maybe a Californian student wanted a piece of home and took his.”

Public Safety could not be reached for comment. Corkery said he has yet to contact them about the crime.

“I just want my backpack back,” he said, with a tone of despair in his voice.

Don’t worry, buddy. The whole Swarthmore community is rooting for you.

Featured image courtesy of Jack Corkery’20.  


  1. 6

    Obama must’ve been behind this! Ever since Obama took office unemployment has gone up 70%! The US debt has increased by 85.4 Trillion Dollars! The number of scientologists have gone up by 300% and extremism terrorism has moleteplied 89 times in just the last 3 hours!

    Obama has created a welfair state where the poors theenk that they can just get by stealing money from hard-working humble milionairs like donald trump and the coke brothers and live off by mooching the welfair!

    Because welfair means steal money from hard-working middle-class people tha poor are trying to bring us to a comunist era where we all steal stuff from each other! That is why people r stealing backbaks!

    Thank you obama!! You kenyon backback stealer!!!!!!

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