As letters continue to disappear from the entrance signs, security considers options to curb the crime.
by Jennifer Ingram
The letter “H,” taken on Oct. 22 around 1 a.m., wasn’t the first letter stolen off the west entrance Whitworth University sign.
It’s been a year since the first letter was stolen last November.
Last May, the east entrance sign was demolished by a motorist who took a sharp turn into campus and crashed into the wall. Many of the letters that were knocked down or knocked loose were stolen from the scene.
A few letters were returned after an email was sent out indicating how expensive these brass letters are. Meanwhile the motorist’s insurance paid for the rebuilding of the east wall, including all the new letters.
Security has begun to tighten up its tactics to end this letter-stealing game.
“They’re not cheap souvenirs,” said Mark McFall, supervisor II of Security Services. “I have spent most of my adult life trying to figure out how crooks think the way they do. But I just don’t know why they would do this.”
Security has yet to find the “crooks, looters, critters and thieves,” as McFall refers to those who have taken the letters. He said the main reason they can get away is because security cannot be everywhere at once.
“We rely on our partnership with the community to be our eyes and ears,” he said.
He stressed the importance of calling security even if something seems just a little bit strange. With 218 acres of campus to cover, security has a hard time watching out for these “scrabble-players” at all times.
Junior Whitney Santos also shared her frustration with the issue at hand.
“It’s so disrespectful,” Santos said. “Everyone knows how expensive they are. It gives students a bad reputation for stealing our own letters off our own school’s sign.”
While the people responsible for the issue have yet to be discovered, rumors have spread that the suspects are Whitworth students.
“They have no school pride,” Santos said. “And what do they even do with the letters?”
Students who are discovered to have stolen letters from the Whitworth signs will be subject to punishment as decided by the Student Services, which McFall said will most likely include a visit with Dick Mandeville, associate dean of students.
Security is looking into installing more cameras on campus, especially in locations where the signs are visible.
McFall said it’s disappointing to drive by the sign and see the letters, and then a few minutes later a few are missing.
“So if installing security cameras is what it takes to prevent these unpleasant, annoying occurrences, then that is a possibility being discussed,” he said.
Please call security with any information regarding the recent or previously stolen letters: 509-777-4444.