By Caleb Grow & Payton Sellers

Viviane de Castro, a sophomore, rummaged through her room, tearing apart her bedding,
checking coat pockets, and pulling open drawers. This was the fourth time that she had done this
– and this time she had friends helping her, too. After thoroughly searching her room in Brooks
House multiple times, de Castro finally lost hope that her AirPods had been misplaced and
concluded that they had been stolen.


De Castro’s experience is one of many that implies that theft at Principia is on the rise. Just this
semester, numerous reports of theft have entered the community discussion through Facebook, or
have been shared in conversations with Pilot reporters.


Sophomore Emme Schaefer’s scooter was stolen on Nov. 5, sophomore Val Perse’s scooter was
stolen on Nov. 13, senior David McCook’s backpack was stolen on Nov. 7, and sophomore Gabe
Keeley’s penny board was stolen on Oct. 8. In addition, sophomores Natalie Kablay and Stefania
Passaglia each had $100 stolen from their rooms in November and February, respectively.
A class discussing the issue of theft on campus was asked, “Who has had something stolen from
their dorm rooms?” The majority of the 17-person class raised their hands. The question that
followed brought forward an interesting issue: when asked how many had reported a theft to
campus security, no one raised their hand. Only three thefts have been reported on campus this
school year, said Campus Security Director Matthew Brill.


“A large problem is that students don’t report anything to us. If you all don’t do that then there is
no way we can prevent more from happening,” said Brill.


If a theft isn’t reported, it didn’t officially occur. Theft can be reported directly to campus
security, or to an RCE, or anyone in the Student Life office. Either way, Brill is notified.
“I’ve never had a problem with theft, so coming from the Upper School it was surprising to find
that in an environment so loving and inclusive, someone would do this,” de Castro shared. She
feels let down by the Principia community – a community that has worked to develop a safe and
trusting atmosphere.


After she discovered that her AirPods were missing, de Castro asked Dean of Students Maya
Dietz if any insurance policy exists to help students cover the cost of recovering stolen items on
campus, specifically in dorm rooms. Dean Dietz told her that Principia doesn’t abide by such
policies.


“Prin is based on trust, and having this experience made me lose trust in my ability to leave my
door open. I don’t want to have to lock up my things every time I leave my room,” said de
Castro.