Thefts prompt revision of security protocol

When Clara McCarthy ’15 arrived at her locker on the morning of Sept. 20, she noticed that her lock was missing. She had left it hanging on the loop unlocked, and as she checked for other missing items, she realized that her Nikon D3100 camera was gone.

After filing a missing items report with Head of Security Jim Crawford, McCarthy told her friend Katie Hohl ’15, who checked her own locker and realized that her camera was also missing.

“I think we didn’t want to believe it was taken, because we’re kind of taught that our school is safe,” McCarthy said. “We leave backpacks and phones everywhere.”

McCarthy’s and Hohl’s cameras were two of four items stolen on Sept. 19, when visiting water polo players from Los Osos High School were caught on security cameras wandering around campus opening unlocked lockers. Three student cameras were stolen from lockers near Mudd Library and a laptop from a backpack in Taper Gym, Crawford said.

“I keep telling everybody that I’m not worried about the kids here stealing from each other, I’m worried about the kids and fans from other schools,” Crawford said.

Soon after both McCarthy and Hohl reported their cameras missing, Crawford received a report of the missing laptop. The following Monday, a senior, who asked not to be identified, also noticed her camera was missing.

Crawford went through security videotapes and showed them to Head of Athletics Terry Barnum, who identified the Los Osos school shirts. Barnum called the Los Osos water polo coach, who identified the suspects, Crawford said.

Los Osos officials recovered the cameras and returned them to Harvard-Westlake soon after.

The laptop was never recovered, but Los Osos reimbursed the student for the loss, Crawford said.

“The students that had removed those items are being disciplined by [their] school, and are in complete cooperation with their administrator and head of school,” Crawford said.

As a result of the thefts, Crawford and the security team are banning visiting sports team members from walking around campus. Team members waiting for a team of the same sport to finish a game must now stay in the venue and watch.

Visiting fans are not restricted, but Crawford said security has been beefed up at home games.

 

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