Multiple thefts in the Harmon Fine Arts Center are causing great frustration and concern among students, security and faculty.
According to Drake Security, the total loss from the thefts is around $19,600. This amount includes 13 computers, a digital camera, a projector, a DVD player and cash.
Eleven computers, the DVD player and the projector belonged to a design lab on the third floor. The other two computers came from another room, the camera was from the costume shop and the cash was stolen from the band office.
The thefts started around May 20 and continued throughout the summer until approximately Sept. 22.
Drake Security has been working on this issue, but according to Captain Les Wheeler, this case is going to be hard to solve.
“I’ve been working for Drake Security for 42 years,” Wheeler said. “This is a tough one.”
Wheeler explained that the doors of the band office, the costume shop and the design lab remain open most of the day, and that there was no sign of forced entry. Also, no one reported anything or anyone suspicious to security during this time.
“Anyone can walk off the street and take what they wanted,” Wheeler said.
Educational Technologist Jerel Krueger said that the facilities are opened for the benefit of the students.
“We tend to have these facilities accessible to students,” Krueger said. “This can bring up some security issues.”
Krueger said that the event has revealed some flaws, mostly in the doors. The doors will now have a different configuration for a more secure set-up.
“You don’t want to think that you have to watch things that closely,” Krueger said. “It’s impossible to be secure 100 percent.”
Drake Security is increasing its checks of the building in all three of its regular shifts. However, it has been hard to tell whether the thief is someone from the inside or not.
Security questioned whether the thief could be an outsider selling the items somewhere in the metro area, but nothing has been turned in to any area pawnshops.
“It’s awful, and we don’t have enough evidence to prove it was someone from the outside doing it,” Wheeler said.
The loss was not only financial, but also educational.
Musical theater senior Sierra White said that the pictures for all of the students cast in this semester’s productions were in the stolen camera, delaying the work of the costume shop.
“We have to retake all of those pictures before we can design anything,” White said.
Theater design tech senior Ashley Conklin is also frustrated by the criminal events.
“It gets ridiculous because there haven’t been that amount of computers for years,” Conklin said. “Then all of the sudden it all gets taken.”
Fortunately, Conklin was not affected academically by the events.
“I’m glad I didn’t have anything stored in those computers,” she said. “People use them for classes.”
John Holman, the head of the theater design tech area, is aggravated by the loss of the equipment.
“It’s a frustrating setback,” he said. “It took a considerable amount of time to put it together and it’s used by all of our design tech students. It takes time and energy to recreate an important teaching tool.”
Photo: Emily Tozer