Suspect Charged in Theater Thefts

By Emma Way
Senior Writer

The Chestertown Police Department has charged a male juvenile with three counts of misdemeanor theft after items were reported missing from the Gibson Center for the Arts. The suspect, who is not a student, has been referred to the Juvenile Justice Department.

On Saturday, Nov. 16 several individuals had items, primarily electronic devices, taken from the dressing room during the performance of “The Triumph of Love and Reality Television,” senior Rachel Fisher’s playwriting thesis. In the next couple days three other instances of theft were also reported to Public Safety.

While junior Alex Madaus was onstage, he, along with many other actors and crew members, left items unattended in the Green Room. “During the second act of (the play) I had my iPod stolen out of the dressing room,” he said.

Within two days, two more individuals reported their cell phones being stolen from the same building. Director of Public Safety Jerry Roderick said, “It was during the week of a production where students were coming in and leaving stuff behind in the Green Room and various areas.”

Although Gibson is a hot spot for these thefts, items have also been reported stolen from other areas around campus, namely the Johnson Fitness Center. On Monday, Nov. 18, a report was filed stating that a laptop had been stolen from an unsecured backpack in the women’s locker room in the JFC between 6 and 9 p.m.

Incidents have also been reported in Hodson Hall, especially in the dining hall. “Earlier this semester I left my backpack upstairs in the dining hall while I was getting food. I hung it on the back of my chair, got food, and left without it on accident,” said Gavin Shuart, a junior.

Shuart returned shortly after to retrieve his backpack, but it was not where he left it nor was it turned into the front desk or Public Safety. “It’s a shame that so many bookbags and things were stolen… this semester,” he said.

“In all these cases the items were left unattended in unsecured areas,” said Roderick.

After the uptick in reports, Public Safety began an investigation. According to Roderick, the team was able to gather some information based on interviewing people at the time about suspicious people in the area. The security cameras also provided Public Safety with more information relating to the thefts.

Public Safety was also able to recover one of the stolen cell phones. Roderick said, “We were able to get evidence off of that. Its lead us to a suspect in the investigation.” All information was turned over to the Chestertown Police Department.

“Our first line of defense is always advising people… We can’t stress enough to leave your valuables in secured spaces,” Roderick said. “The only way to prevent yourself from being a victim of crime, is by making yourself a hard target.”

 

 

 

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