Students face lost cause after valuables stolen

You finish sports practice and walk into the locker room to grab your bag. You see wide open pockets and start running. You frantically search for a prized possession. But your phone is gone.

“I was freaking out because you’re always so used to your phone being there,” said freshman Mary Grace Mylod-Vargas whose phone was allegedly stolen during PE. “[My phone was stolen] during passing so I [thought] I have to get to seventh; but at the same time, I need to find my phone.”

Three phones and a MacBook Air were allegedly stolen during a PE period Jan. 20 when the fenced area where students can keep their backpacks wasn’t immediately locked after students were done changing. Two phones were allegedly stolen after school Feb. 22 during sports practices when the backpacks were sitting in the aisles of the locker room.

After a theft is reported to the AVP, the victim writes a statement. Then, the AVP tries to identify witnesses that may have been present at the time. If found, they are interviewed by the AVP for any information that they may have. Lastly, the AVP looks for the stolen item based on the information obtained. However, many times the AVP isn’t so lucky with phones.

“If we don’t track [the cellphone] down by the end of the day, then we never will,” AVP Mike Kuliga said.

This isn’t for a lack of effort but rather a lack of security on the phone. Despite the setbacks, the campus police and administration work alongside each other when a stolen item is reported.

If the thief is found, they will be arrested by the police and suspended by the school, according to Kuliga. But this happens less often than a theft is reported, because the lack of easily attainable information.

“The night [my phone got stolen] I had my iCloud page open and I kept refreshing the page to see if it had popped up but, nothing was happening. So I decided it was probably gone,” said freshman Isabel Sanchez-Foster, whose phone was stolen in February. “My mom was saying that it was important for me to get a new one because it was the only way I can be reached.”

Since this, PE classes have gotten talks from their teachers, and the girls locker room is now locked before and after PE. The AVP have emphasized security by placing a supervisor, Mayra Melchor, in the girls locker room to watch over the students. She said thefts have decreased since she was stationed due to her finding of forgotten items.

Sequoia’s rules state “electronic devices … except if a teacher uses them as equipment are not to be visible during instructional hours,” based on the school’s ideology that if people don’t know you have it, they won’t go looking for it.

“I’ve come to realize that unfortunately you can’t always trust people to not be jerks. So I’ve really started to keep track of what I’m doing with my things in my head,” said freshman Lori Sibun Handler, whose phone and computer were stolen in January. “I don’t put my stuff in the cage at all, I bring my stuff with me [wherever I go during PE].”