Conservatory theft threat still looms -jcr -dlh

Doris Kim

The mystery of the Lawrence Conservatory theft incidents during this school year has been solved over the winter break, but students shouldn’t let their guard down quite yet.
Appleton police officers responded to a call for breaking and entering and suspected burglary on Dec. 6, 2004. The house’s windows had been broken, but the police had no reason to believe there was anything stolen. At the entrance, the officers smelled a gas leak, as well as marijuana smoke. This prompted a search of the house.
In the basement was 19-year-old Jonathon D. Collar, a friend of the resident of the house, hiding. He was in possession of marijuana and a still-warm crack cocaine pipe. Arrested for the felony of bail jumping and violating conditions of a bond from an earlier arrest, as well as misdemeanor charges of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, Collar was also identified as the Conservatory thief.
The resident of the house, 19-year-old James A Hersant, was also charged with a felony charge and misdemeanors. His charges included possession of pot and drug paraphernalia ********– a digital scale ********– and maintenance of a place of drug trafficking.
Many of the stolen belongings only have value to the owner, such as identification cards, class notebooks, and personal checks. Other more valuable objects included textbooks, a parking pass, keys, a cell phone, music, a conducting baton, and even a social security card.
Although the thief has been caught, the Lawrence University Conservatory will lock its doors at 9 p.m. as opposed to the original 1 a.m. closing time.
“There have always been random thefts such as backpacks, cash, and music, but the incidents escalated ********– not only in the Conservatory but on our campus in general,” said Ellen Mitala, senior administrative assistant of the Conservatory.
Incidents of theft occur all year long, even during school breaks. Shannon McCue, ’05, came to the campus in August for a viola lesson. Her lesson was an hour and half, and as she always had done, she left her backpack in the Conservatory lobby.
Her backpack was missing when she returned and was later found in a bathroom stall. All her credit cards and cash were taken, but her cell phone and iPod had been overlooked.
“I have always trusted leaving by things around, but I should have known better. Now I always take my backpack into my practice room and into rehearsals,” said McCue.
Because of the peculiar rise in incidents, campus security has asked the Conservatory to hire monitors and lock its doors earlier. Collar has been found guilty of most of the thefts that happened this school year, but stealing will continue to take place. The threat seems to come, not from students, but from people living off-campus..
Despite these imminent changes and the students’ awareness of the stealing, personal items are readily left along the hallways, especially during rehearsals.
“The students are still too trustful,” said Mitala.