Last Monday, an intruder broke into the Office of the Provost. According to Director of Campus Safety Michael Sweazey, Bailey House was unoccupied at the time of the break-in and the intruder entered through a faulty door.
The break-in comes at a time of increased crime in Gambier, particularly bike thefts.
Sweazey said that the perpetrator rummaged through various drawers in staff offices, collecting small items in a bag. He speculated that Campus Safety officers patrolling the area “scared the subject away,” as the intruder abandoned the stolen items inside the house.
Provost Jeffrey Bowman recalled entering the building in the morning of April 19 to discover the scene of the crime. “They rifled through various spaces and private offices,” Bowman wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The intruders seem to have been motivated by theft. They gathered numerous bags of booty near an exit to the building. Their tastes were wide-ranging.”
Sweazey said that there was no clear rationale behind the crime. “It appears that there was no motive other than opportunity because of the nature of the items that had been collected to be taken,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Bowman noted that the intruder committed “baffling misdeeds” and had apparently planned to steal multiple objects, ranging from a book on faculty development to keys and a Lean Cuisine frozen meal. “Their takings suggest a special enthusiasm for Post-it notes, Pepsi, and Febreeze,” he added. Bowman confirmed Sweazey’s account, noting that the intruder ultimately “lost courage and/or executive function” and left without the objects.
According to Sweazey, the Office of Campus Safety has been in contact with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office about the incident. He said he did not have the authority to discuss the identity of any suspects. Sweazey noted that break-ins of this kind have happened in the past, although not in recent years.
Reflecting on the event, Bowman felt troubled by the lack of regard for College property. “Their disrespect for the personal belongings of staff in the Bailey Office is an injury we feel deeply,” he said.