On Tuesday, Oct. 9, The Office of Public Safety (PS) sent an AllStudents email regarding multiple reported thefts from townhouses. The thefts, according to the email, had all occurred in the past few days, coming not long after a scourge of laptop thefts on campus. At least two students reported that their laptops were stolen from their backpacks three weeks before this most recent crime spree. The laptops have not yet been recovered.
The email tells students that gaming consoles were the common target of the thefts, and offered a few tips for all to consider, suggesting that students not “leave your doors and windows unlocked,” not “give out your keys or ID cards to others” and finally reminding us that the best way to prevent theft is to “not take property that is not yours,” ever cautious of victim-shaming. The party responsible for the thefts may be unacquainted with the St. Mary’s Way, a cherished social code among the people who have spent a lot of time at the College.
The College’s website page describing the St. Mary’s Way states that by joining the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community, you socially agree to work with others to “develop this College as a community” in several facets, including keeping St. Mary’s a place where people “take individual responsibility for their work and actions”, as well as ”foster relationships based upon mutual respect, honesty, integrity, and trust”. Certainly, the responsible party or parties in the cases of the stolen valuables should be reminded of their commitment to “accept the responsibility of helping to build on [the College’s] past heritage, of living its ideals, and contributing to its future”.
Student Sarah Guthrie made a post in a Facebook student group on Oct. 9, writing that “Last night someone came into our townhouse and took my housemate’s Xbox, a game, and a controller. We would like you to return them. Please remember the St. Mary’s way and bring the Xbox back.”
Many students responded to the post with Facebook’s “angry” and “sad” reactions, and encouraging students who know more about the crimes to report— even if the perpetrator is a friend. Guthrie responded to this comment, saying “Agreed. But no charges will be pressed or questions asked if they give it back.”
Not long after Guthrie’s post was made, other students came forward on the page to report their own stolen items. Scott Sutton made one such post speaking of the theft which occurred at his residence on the Townhouse Greens, where the lost item was again a gaming console and controller. Sutton told The Point News via email “They basically snuck in right under our noses and stole from us. And I can say with wholeheartedly that its a way more disturbing feeling knowing someone was in your home and could have taken whatever they wanted then realizing what was actually taken. [We] just feel violated.”
In the past, St. Mary’s students have been very trusting of one another. Just a few years ago during admissions tours, prospective students would hear from student tour guides that the biggest thing to worry about on campus was “bike borrowing,” a temporary instance of theft in which students would often “steal” others’ bikes when left unlocked and then later ditch them at another location on campus. As a result of the “bike borrowing” trend, most bike owners on campus purchased simple wire bike locks. But the degree of violation occurring now is unprecedented on the St. Mary’s campus.
Other students recalled times when they felt comfortable leaving their laptops unattended in the library while they went to grab coffee or use the restroom, hoping that the days of being able to trust peers for five whole minutes are not gone forever.
The email from Public Safety also asks that members of the Campus Community report “anything or anyone suspicious looking,” not elaborating on what a suspicious thing, or person may look like.
If you have any information on the missing items, contact Public Safety at 240-895-4911 or via the Seahawk Safe App powered by CampusShield.