Crafty crook climbs carefully to computer

Archie Kinnane

In a daring heist, an unidentified white male dressed in all black climbed through the air vent from the women’s bathroom into the locked band room and stole senior Justin William’s Apple computer on Friday, Sept. 15. Williams’ $1,100 laptop was stolen sometime between 7:40 and 11 p.m. while he was performing with the Knights of Sound at the football game against Riverdale. Williams had hidden the laptop in its case under a chair locked in the band room, in what he felt to be a secure place. “I felt safe because I saw Mr. Cook’s iPad which he left just sitting in the middle of the room in plain sight,” Williams said. “[The iPad] was not taken.” Williams took precautions to prevent theft. “I made sure I was the last one out of the band room when we were setting up because I knew [the laptop] was in there,” Williams said. The case remained in its position under the chair, but the laptop was taken. After discovering his laptop was gone, Williams took several measures to attempt to recover it. He reported it stolen to the police and asked assistant principal David Propst to review the security camera’s tapes. Williams said the security footage shows a brown-haired white male dressed in all black enter the women’s bathroom adjacent to the band room. The footage then shows the same male exit the band room door holding an object resembling the laptop in shape and size. In the women’s bathroom, the cover for the vent had been disturbed. Williams said the evidence points to the thief climbing through the vent from the bathroom into the band room. Williams’ experience is one manifestation of a stealing trend that is developing in the band room, as well in general on the Grady campus. Propst has already had more than 10 major thefts reported to him since the beginning of school. “The biggest issue is that people are leaving stuff unattended,” Propst said. “If you were at the airport, would you leave your stuff around? If you were at the mall, would you leave your stuff hanging out?” Propst said 90 percent of thefts are due to people leaving their possessions out. “I just had another theft,” Propst said, pointing to a sheet on his desk. “His cellphone was gone. What did he do? Left it on the cafeteria table.” When informed of the lifted laptop, band students reacted with little surprise. They did, however, offer a possible explanation. Band members said sometimes students move objects to an unknown location, in order to trick people into thinking their belongings have been stolen. They suggested the laptop could have been hidden in the band lockers, behind tables, or even more unusual places. “Did you check the girl’s bathroom?” trombone player Derante Benton said. “Why would we check the girls’ bathroom?” senior Troy Kleber said. Benton’s response was a confused glance, as if Kleber’s question was simply too ignorant to be dignified with a response. Nancy Habif, a Grady parent who was on the scene when the theft was uncovered, is hopeful the stealer will be caught and duly punished. “There are cameras at every exit. The thief will be caught, and [Williams] will prosecute them. Because this is the third time something’s been stolen from you,” Habif said fiercely.  “Last time you didn’t prosecute, but this time you will.” Williams was mugged his sophomore year near Taco Bell and was punched in the face several times. His backpack was also stolen at a lunch during his freshman year. “We all threw our bags together and I couldn’t find it when lunch was over,” Williams said. “It turned up several days later, rained on, with the graphing calculator and Blackberry gone.” Williams remains hopeful about finding the stolen laptop. “I’d put my chances at 50-50. I remain cautiously optimistic.”