Two thefts allegedly took place at the College just before Thanksgiving break, one at an off-campus residence at 83 1/2 Harpswell Road and the other at the sailing team’s boathouse in Harpswell.
The most recent theft occurred at an off-campus party at the Harpswell Road residence—better known as Crack House—on November 17, when a partygoer allegedly stole numerous signs and decorations from the student home.
That night, the residents were hosting a Thanksgiving-themed party and had asked attendees to bring canned food items to donate to charity; the hosts were busy collecting the canned goods—they ended up donating over 180 lbs. of food to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention program—when the items disappeared.
According to the residents, the stolen goods were sentimental items passed down by over a decade of Crack House residents.
Resident Connor Handy ’13 said he feels betrayed by the theft.
“It’s unfortunate, especially on a night when we were trying to do some good as opposed to just being college kids and having a party, that someone would take these things,” Handy said.
The residents said they were unaware of the theft until the morning after the event. For the majority of the party, they were collecting canned food at the door, and were unaware of any thieving inside the house.
“Someone must have slipped by because I can’t imagine someone who was willing to donate canned food was also responsible for taking stuff,” Handy said. “It doesn’t seem like they’d have the same humanitarian values.”
Handy estimates the value of the stolen items at a few hundred dollars.
Crack House residents have not yet contacted Bowdoin Security about the theft. Instead, they sent an email to the original guest list of the party asking the “person(s) who has done this to please return these items,” and promising anonymity in return. No one has yet confessed to the theft.
In response to the theft, the residents are considering throwing fewer parties or patrolling them more closely, although they have made no final decision.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols said the residents could still contact Security to report the crime.
“There’s always a value in reporting it to Security because we may come upon those signs in our other rounds on campus,” Nichols said.
In addition to the theft at Crack House, the sailing team’s boathouse in Harpswell was burglarized November 14. The burglar allegedly used a bolt cutter to cut through a padlock on the backdoor, gaining access to the equipment inside. Approximately $4000 worth of the College’s power tools, electronics and marine-oriented equipment was stolen, along with Sailing Coach Frank Pizzo’s personal items.
Pizzo said the team won’t be dramatically affected by the burglary, as the sailing team is now off-season. Although the specialized equipment is more difficult to find, he believes the items will be replaced by the start of the spring season.
“I think they took what seemed valuable,” Pizzo said. “It’s not too hard of a place to break into.”
Pizzo discovered the burglary around 3 p.m. on November 14. He entered the boathouse to find that “the place was trashed.” Pizzo first called Security, which directed him to call the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department failed to find fingerprints in the boathouse and Pizzo didn’t have serial numbers to track the stolen items.
Since the theft, no major security measures have been taken to protect the boathouse in the future, Pizzo said.
“We’ve replaced the locks. There’s not a ton of stuff of value in it to justify buying an alarm,” Pizzo said. “Everything is locked. We were just in our transition period between seasons, so not everything was put away and locked in sheds.”
“The area is used by a lot of locals who will go down to watch the sunset. I think it was a possible crime of opportunity,” Nichols said. “It’s relatively easy to break into any type of rural, remote place.”