Are You Prepared for Theft?

Finder’s keepers.
This has recently become the new motto to some students at MHS as theft has become more prominent around campus.

According to security officer Todd Tardie, there have already been a number of thefts since the school year started.

“We’ve had four just this week alone coming back from Christmas break, and I think before Christmas break there have been six to eight,” Tardie said.

These are just the reported ones, though. According to sophomore Regan Tucker, there have been more than 10 thefts taking place in the band rooms, including from her. Tardie said these thefts could be for a number of reasons.

“Some do it for the rush, some do it for the financial benefits, some do it to support a habit, there’s all kinds of reasons,” Tardie said. “Some even just do it for the thrill.”

Tucker agreed there are multiple reasons a person may steal, but said ultimately it is because the person just wants to do it for their own entertainment, not the financial status of a student’s home life.

“Personally, I know people who steal from places like Wal-Mart even though they have money to not steal from the store, and it’s something you do for the thrill I guess,” Tucker said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with how much money they have.”

Freshman Roarke McNeely, who has had a pair of Beats headphones stolen, had a different view on the problem. He said people may steal for a “cool” image or to sell the stolen item. According to McNeely, he did not want to make an issue of the situation, as he was former friends with the person who he believes stole his headphones.

“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” McNeely said. “We were friends, but maybe he was just friends to steal my stuff.”

The most common items stolen are electronic devices including iPods, iPhones and the headphones attached. There are also many instances where money, jewelry or clothing is stolen.

Jessica*, a previous Marshfield student, is a former thief. She used to steal from stores such as Fred Meyer, Safeway and Wal-Mart and said it became a habit.

“It’s addicting. You get a type of thrill from it and it makes your blood pulse from being nervous,” Jessica said. “It’s almost like being on a drug.”

Jessica, having stolen many things over the course of two years, now looks down upon it. She said she and her friends would make a fun time of the situation and had plans of how they would steal certain things. She also said her conscience would get to her after leaving a store with unpaid for items.

“Me and my friends would have backpacks on and walk behind each other putting random things we wanted in the bags and zip them up or put clothes under our own and walk out with them on. We would steal just about anything we thought looked cool. It wasn’t about the financial stability; we just would ditch class and walk down to stores, for what at the time seemed fun. We just had the mentality that if we didn’t have to pay, we weren’t going to,” Jessica said. “I mean, if I saw an item in the store I wanted, and knew I could get away with it, I’d take it. I guess I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t care so I wouldn’t say it had much effect on it, even though after I took stuff I did feel bad about it.”

Thievery, according to Tardie, is rare to catch. There are security cameras on campus, but not often do people get caught on tape. He said cameras are not in classrooms or locker rooms, which is where things typically get stolen.

Kyle Yockey, freshman, is also one who has been a victim of theft and has been accused of theft himself. He said he would never steal from another person, and although the sentimental value of the item stolen from him was not high, the initial idea of it being taken is his bother and he frowns upon those who take things from others.

“I had a pair of black headphones stolen, not a big deal, just headphones, but it’s the idea of people taking things is what bothers me,” Yockey said. “I wouldn’t steal a thing, I have no purpose to. In my eyes it’s disrespectful, and I’m the type of person if I have something, especially extra, I’ll give it to you.”

Yockey is one of the many to have a personal item stolen from the band hall this school year. However, theft can occur anywhere on campus where an item is left unattended. Thefts occurring in the locker rooms are addressed often, though, as they are the hotspot for stealing. There is an initial reinforcement at the beginning of each semester about locking items away during physical education classes and not giving out locker combinations, according to physical education teacher Linda George. George said she reminds her students to not bring their backpacks to class to avoid any chances of thievery.

“What I try to do is at the start of the school year, I reinforce the girls and tell them to not leave anything out and lock everything up and to not bring backpacks or anything that won’t fit in their locker in here,” George said. “I want the kids to go home with what they came to school with and there’s no reason that shouldn’t happen.”

Although theft is not caught very often, there are set consequences. If caught stealing, the student will have their parents called and will be given an automatic suspension, the length in which the Dean of Students, Greg Mulkey, sees fit. The victim can then choose to file a criminal report with the police and the thief can be charged by the law. The value of the item stolen will determine the prosecution. For example, it would be considered a fairly serious crime if a $500-$600 iPhone were to be stolen.

Tardie said even though the school has consequences for the crime, it is not the school’s responsibility if someone’s personal item is lost or stolen.

“The problem with us as a school is we’re not responsible for your personal items,” Tardie said. “So if you bring an iPod and leave it sitting somewhere and someone takes it, you’re the only one responsible for that and the chances of us ever recovering something that’s been stolen is not very likely.”

George agreed student responsibility plays a major role in the chances of their things being taken. She also said in her 24 years of teaching, it is a recurring crime and will happen no matter what school a student attends.

“If it means the world to them to have, then don’t bring it to school or be responsible enough to know where it is at all times,” George said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have very honest people walking the halls of this school, and it’s not just Marshfield, it’s every school you go to.”

Tucker said the theft is concerning. She said she should be able to not worry about going home after school empty handed.

“I feel like I should be able to think my belongings are safe at school,” Tucker said.

Jessica, even though she used to steal, said she never believed in stealing from other people and has had things stolen from her before as well. She said there is a difference in stealing from a store and stealing from a person who worked for what they have.

“I think it is always wrong to steal someone’s belongings,” Jessica said. “They worked hard for that item and it just shouldn’t be stolen. When you steal from a store, it’s just merchandise. I think stealing becomes a problem when you feel like you have to steal something even when there’s no need for it.”

According to Tardie, there is no real way to avoid theft, other than always keeping a close eye on personal items at all times. Any theft can be reported to Mulkey or Tardie and a theft report can be filed. He advised to keep personal information, such as serial numbers, written somewhere so they can be tracked and returned if found. He also said it is essential that a student takes care and keeps track of any personal items that are brought to school.

“When you’re a thief, you’re a thief. If you’re a thief, you don’t care about the rules, and you’ll take what comes easy. We have to beat the thief by taking care of our stuff,” Tardie said. “Reality is, we live in a culture where people take stuff that’s not theirs, and we have to learn that if you have something valuable, you better keep track of it, otherwise it’s gonna get taken.”