Baxter thefts reported

The locks have been changed and a safe has been purchased, but not before more than $300 was stolen from the calendar and activities office in Baxter in two separate incidents last month.

The first theft occurred on Feb. 7. Between 4:30 p.m. and when the office opened the next morning, someone accessed the office, opened a desk drawer and withdrew the money from a metal box.

The thief took $90 from the box, but left $27, which led Security to believe a voucher would be filed for the missing money, said Dave Boyer, associate director of Security.

Boyer has since classified the missing money as a theft and filed a report with the Williamstown Police Department (WPD).

The second theft occurred last Thursday when a cardboard box containing money from the Gargoyle Society’s “100 Days” sale was opened and $261 taken.

The box was not secured, Boyer said, because there was some confusion between the Gargoyle members and those working in the activities office as to the contents of the box. However, the door to the office was locked when the money was stolen.

Although the WPD was contacted for the second robbery as well, Boyer said he had not heard from the police yet.

“Our success rate in solving these [is] poor,” Boyer said.

He added, “In a lot of cases [of theft], the opportunity is so great, the number of people we’re dealing with, spaces are left unsecured. . .any one of 2,000 to 3,000 people could have gone through.”

Nonetheless, Boyer said that the amount of money stolen, and the fact that it was actually cash, instead of an object of equivalent value, made the crimes a bit unusual for Williams.

In addition, because the office was locked, the perpetrator either had a key or a clever way of accessing the office.

The Dining Services areas of Baxter were rekeyed about two years ago after a number of “significant appliances,” including cold-cut slicers and large electric mixers were stolen, Boyer said.

Buildings and Grounds (B&G) also had to change the keys in other Dining Services areas because Security feared stolen keys could be altered to allow access to other storage spaces.

“We went around two years ago in response to thefts from buildings controlled by Dining Services and made changes to the locks,” Boyer said.

The activities office was not changed because it did not fall under the realm of Dining Services.

However, since the Gargoyle theft, a locknetics lock, which can track who enters the office, has been installed on the office’s door.

A safe has also been purchased to store valuables.

Boyer said if the original key is in the hands of a thief, it cannot be used to enter any other important areas where valuable might be stored. “At this point, I could not say for sure who has keys [to the office] and who doesn’t,” Boyer said. “The core could have been in there for several years. Right now, that [old] key could work in a number of insignificant areas.”

In a possibly related event, Security received notification on Feb. 26 that the lock on the sliding glass partition of the phone office in Baxter had been broken during an apparent attempted break-in. The plywood barrier behind the glass was locked, however, preventing any theft.