Nerves of Steal

Alex Gonzalez

     *indicates a name-change to protect identity

     As students get older, they learn that the action of trust is not as easy as it used to be. One day, someone may be sitting in the cafeteria, and while he or she goes to get a snack at Cat Corner, they leave their backpack in the seating area. When he or she comes back, they find that a valuable item has been stolen.

     Electronic devices are among the most common items stolen, and theft of these occurs both on and off campus.

     “I was working the register one day, and this man came in and told us this story about his life in the army,” senior Leily Rezakhani said. “While we were putting up our shipment, I left my phone on the table, and when no one was looking, he took my phone and ran.”
     Rezakhani is among many other students who have gotten their phones stolen.
     “One time, someone stole my phone, and when I tried to call him he didn’t answer,” junior Sue Reid said.

     With busy schedules, a student may not even think twice about his or her valuables, and leave them unattended.              
     “I remember on time, my mom packed me a nice lunch,” junior Greg Thayer said. “I left it on the table in the morning, and then when I remembered that, I went to go get it, and then it was gone.”

     Students who are in a hurry have the tendency of leaving their valuables in the position of being stolen.
     “I’ve heard of iPods being stolen in the locker room,” junior Jazmine Tubbs said, “but that’s just because they leave them in plain sight, rather than locking it in their locker. They make it totally steal-able.”
     Those who drive their own cars to school are at higher risk of being robbed of valuables, as they leave their cars unattended throughout the school day.
     “I left my window rolled down about halfway,” senior Katy Smith said. “When I was about to leave for lunch, I noticed that stuff was missing, and everything was not as I left it, so I knew somebody had gone through my stuff.”
     Smith later discovered that the intruder had stolen her iPod.
     “I reported my iPod stolen to the police, and he tried to help, but my iPod’s serial number didn’t match up with any of the ones that had been turned into him,” Smith said.

     If on-campus theft is reported, the school takes disciplinary action.
     “[The consequences are] totally up to the school,” police liaison officer Rick Armor said. “I don’t have any say in the punishments they impose.”

     The police liaison and the administration work as a team to initiate an investigation.

     “The first thing we do is speak with the liaison,” sub-school principal Karin Ball said. “He usually has the student fill out a criminal report, and then we try to work with the liaison to investigate.”

     The administration decides the first of two disciplinary actions to place upon the student.

     “There are two separate actions, a school action and a police action,” Ball said. “The school action can range from suspension to placement at an alternative school.”

     Although some items may be important, not all of stolen items are of high monetary value.

     “I know it’s minor, but I’ve had my pencil pouch stolen before,” Tubbs said. “Then I found it and everything was missing, except an eraser or two.”

     After heavy drinking, students claim to have done things that they would never do if sober.

     “I was under the influence one time, and I broke into someone’s car,” junior Maxwell Evans* said. “I don’t exactly remember what I stole, but I’m on probation for two years, and I had to pay a restitution fee.”

     With 2,500 plus students on campus, thieves may be pretty difficult to find. However, when a culprit is found, he or she may not own up to their misdeed.
     “When I had my iTouch stolen, I found out who the thief was and they denied everything,” junior Malcolm Mann said.

     People will even admit that they have committed some sort of minor theft.

     “When I was little, I used to take candy from the store,” Thayer said, “but everyone has stolen something once. You can’t lie.”
     For some students, theft is the last thing on their mind.
     “I’ve never had anything stolen from me,” senior Jonathan Hill said. “People know better than to steal from me.”