Recent thefts lead students to question safety of possessions

Featured+image+of+theft+by+Cassidy+Viox

Featured image of theft by Cassidy Viox

Grace Vance

In the past two weeks, students have reported multiple wallet thefts throughout the school. The location of the larceny ranges from the studies wing to the band hall.
While resource officer Keisha Edwards said cases of theft occur occasionally throughout the year, never before has she seen this magnitude and nature of thievery in RBHS.
On Sept. 30, sophomore Jessica Fisher reported a theft to Edwards. Fisher said her wallet had been stolen in the band classroom.
Edwards said this year there have been numerous thefts in this area of the school. She noted in one instance she filed a police report. Students often leave their backpacks in the hallway outside of the band room, a situation Edwards said makes the musicians vulnerable to looting.
“When I look at the surveillance video every time I take one of these reports and try to figure out if I can determine the suspect, I am seeing 50 to 60, even 100 kids walking in and out of all of the rooms in that area. It’s hard to determine who the suspect is,” Edwards said. “Maybe once a year one misplaces an instrument, and we always seem to find it, [but] never personal items like wallets or purses and things of that nature. That’s unusual this year.”
Fischer, who plays the flute, left her backpack in the band room during the 7:45 a.m. rehearsal and through the Homecoming assembly that ended at 10:10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30. She then left the school to eat lunch with a friend and took her backpack with her.
“When I climbed out of [my friend’s] car, I reached in my backpack for my wallet, and it was gone,” Fisher said.
While she has since bought a new wallet and debit card, she wasn’t able to recover the $35 and her school-issued student I.D. that was in her wallet.
Assistant principal Deborah Greene said administrative action in regard to theft is different for every situation.
“Depending on the item, sometimes if a student was willing to say, ‘Yeah, I took it’ and gives it back, there might not be a consequence. Sometimes there is a major consequence, [and] depending on the value, there would even be an arrest,” Greene said. “We’ll question the student, [and] we have the right to search the student, their locker [or] their car if we have reasonable suspicion to do so.”
Edwards said cell phones are the most notable and common cases of stealing at RBHS, and, she said, these items are where the nature of the crime can mark the difference between a misdemeanor and felony. She said if the value of the item stolen is $500 or less, the crime is classified as a class A misdemeanor theft; if the property is valued at $500 or more, it is filed as a class C felony theft.
She said the band students’ close friendships and shared love for music makes her question the motive behind the recurring larceny in that area of the school.
“It’s a group that stays together and goes to a lot of competitions, so [they] build relationships with people,” Edwards said. “Because of the tight-knit group that the band kids are, it’s just hard to believe things are coming up missing from that area.”
This problem is not just isolated to the band hall, however; senior Abby O’Connor said her wallet was stolen during her second hour Popular Culture class Friday, Oct. 7.
“We did group work during class. The teachers numbered us off, and we moved around the room. I was on the opposite side of the room as my actual seat with my stuff. At the end of class when we went back to our seats I just happened to open my bag and look for my wallet,” O’Connor said. “I noticed it wasn’t there because my keys are always attached to it. The keys were still there, but not the wallet.”
It has been four days since her wallet came up missing, leaving O’Connor feeling little hope for retrieving it.
“It still hasn’t been found, so it’s probably not going to be now, which sucks because I [had] just got it for my birthday the week before,” O’Connor said. “I also lost two SD cards for my yearbook camera, a lot of cash, gift cards, my student I.D. and my driver’s license.”
When the theft occurred, O’Connor told her teacher and Greene, who believes the thief was likely a student in O’Connor’s class.
“The teacher let us know, and Dr. [Tim] Baker and I went in and asked consent of each student to search them before they left the classroom,” Greene said. “We can because it’s our building if something’s been taken. We didn’t come up with anything, but it is a procedure that oftentimes can be used.”
Edwards said the common thread between these cases is student negligence. From here, she said students can take steps to protect their possessions.
“Keep your property with you at all times. Leave it in your vehicle; give it to an adult to hold for you [if] you think there’s a possibility that something may happen,” Edwards said. “Or, plain and simple, leave it at home and don’t bring it to school.”
Have you been a victim of theft at RBHS? Leave a comment below!