High-school heists

April 28, 2004, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 16 years, 7 months ago

Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the identities of the sources.

Pokerfaced and relaxed, Tim, who has been stealing since sixth grade, approaches a table in the library, snatches a calculator out of an open backpack and swiftly leaves the crime scene, periodically looking around to see if anyone is following him. Assured that he is safe, he rejoins his friends with a big grin on his face and smugly describes how he has managed to swipe the calculator.

According to an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students during the week of March 21, 67 percent have had at least one of their belongings stolen at school despite security, a police officer and cameras in almost every corner of Blair.

Tim describes his motivation for stealing as the adrenaline rush stemming from the constant fear of getting caught. For freshman Marvin, it is the effortless gain of money. But for the majority, according to Tim, stealing is simply the matter of getting things they need and know are available for free.

P.E. teacher Cynthia Changuris, who claims that the level of theft in P.E. hallways has decreased in recent years, explains some students' need to steal. "It gives them power. They want something for things they don't have access to."

Just a week ago, freshman T.J. Dant's Palm Pilot was stolen when he left it in the corner of the gym and went off to play basketball. When Dant returned to get his stuff, he realized that his Palm Pilot was missing.

Along with Dant's Palm Pilot, freshman Abraham Schwadron's cell phone was stolen.

Although Dant and Schwadron reclaimed their belongings, security guard Edward Reddick says that most of the items reported stolen are not found.

A month ago, junior Monique Eldridge set her purse on the table in her seventh period class. At the end of class, her purse was gone. She reported it to the security office and filled out a form, but nothing was ever found.

Generally, thieves go for objects that are lying out in the open, according to junior Willy, who claims to have stolen 15 calculators in one day.

Students, however, are not the only victims of thievery. Physics teacher Karen Hillmer had one of her stamps stolen from her for the first time in her 20-year teaching career. "I had never had any problem before with my stamps disappearing," she said.

In another instance, freshman Denis stole two calculators from his teacher while his friend was distracting her. As the bell rang, he grabbed the two calculators and left with them in his pocket. He feels no regret.

The lack of guilt comes with experience, says Willy; thieves usually start stealing at a very young age, eventually moving to bigger things as they get older. "If nobody knows, I am not nervous. Only my conscience and God would know," says Willy, who has been stealing since eighth grade.

But what happens to thieves when they do get caught? According to security guard Steve Miller, 25 to 30 students have been suspended. The school policy on theft is a 10-day suspension with recommendation for expulsion.

Not even the consequences for getting caught bother Willy. "If you get caught, that's your fault," he says, adding that he has been caught once and has learned his lesson. Willy adds that good thieves are careful to make sure that, when stealing, they stay calm and check the surrounding area.

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Fidan Karimova. Fidan is a SENIOR!!! She is happy to be a part of the Silver Chips staff, considering that it's the best high school newspaper ever! She would also like to point out that she is one of two Azerbaijani students at Blair and proud to … More »

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