Rash of thefts at Kaneland upsets students

Photo: The most common items stolen out of lockers at Kaneland are electronics, like iPods and cell phones, according to Officer Keith Gardner. Photo by Tyler Keenum

by Gina Jarvis
Kaneland Krier Editor

Sophomore Haley Contorno was upset when she had discovered $27 missing from her gym locker last month.

“I was going to use it to buy homecoming tickets,” she said.

Contorno isn’t the only student who’s been a victim of theft; there have been a spate of locker thefts at Kaneland.

Theft at school is something students often worry about. Bringing unnecessary objects, such as iPods, cameras, cell phones, and larger amounts of money, puts students at the risk of being a victim of theft, School Resource Officer Keith Gardner said.

“It’s mostly occurring in gym locker rooms because students are not locking their lockers,” he said.

However, gym locker rooms are not the only place that theft occurs.

Kane County Sherriff’s Office Paul Warren, who was Kaneland’s student resource officer for the previous four years, said that thefts that have occurred in the past have taken place in places where backpacks and purses have been left unattended. Where any item is accessible, a theft can occur, he said.

It’s sometimes difficult to discipline the thief. Without proper evidence and reasonable suspicion that a student is involved in a crime, proper disciplinary actions can’t take place, according to Gardner.

“A student must come in and file a report, which doesn’t happen often,” he said.

The consequences, depending upon the scenario, can include discipline on both school and legal aspects. A student can face suspension and possible expulsion when caught in a student theft crime. Legal discipline can include reimbursement of the objects stolen, community service and criminal and felony charges, said officer Gardner.

“If we could get kids to lock their lockers, there would be less theft cases,” Warren said.

So, how much is the majority of student theft at Kaneland preventable? The answer is simple: by locking lockers and leaving the valuable items at home.