Students Apprehend Alleged Campus Thief

After weeks of thefts reported around campus, four students apprehended an alleged thief, twenty-one-year-old Micah Lym, an Andover town resident. Tom Dignard ’06, Hunter Thunell ’06, Dave Holliday ’08, and JR Santaniello ’08 cornered Lym in a stall in the boys’ locker room bathroom Friday. They then called the Andover police who sent several officers to the scene. The officers arrested Lym, who was brought back to the station where he was booked and held. He was later released after paying bail. During fourth period on Friday, Santaniello and Holliday went looking for Santaniello’s missing backpack. Upon arriving in the boys’ locker room, they met Thunell and Dignard. Dignard had had $80 stolen from him the day before. Holliday said, “We were looking and this…kid in a hood and tinted sunglasses walked in [to the locker room] and went straight into a bathroom stall.” Santaniello said, “Something just told me he didn’t belong here.” The students immediately notified Athletic Equipment Manager Blaine Austin, thinking that they had caught the thief. The suspect claimed to be a day student, but was unable to answer a series of questions posed by Mr. Austin. Mr. Austin could not find Lym in the facebook, and the young man also failed to produce a student I.D. Mr. Austin then asked Athletics Department Laundry Worker Casilda Ventura to call Office Manager Lisa Buckley in the Athletic office, who then called Phillips Academy Public Safety (PAPS), and Athletics Trainer Michael Kuta. While waiting for PAPS, Mr. Austin had the suspect come out of the bathroom and questioned him again, but got the same answers. By this time, Instructor in Athletics and Director of Athletics Martha Fenton had arrived with Mr. Kuta. After failing to tell Mr. Kuta who his cluster dean was, the alleged thief was brought to the gym office. When PAPS Community Relations Officer Wendy Cogswell arrived on the scene, she called the police. Officers Robert Cronin and Peter Reming of the Andover Police Department responded to the call. When they arrived and questioned Lym, he replied that he had entered the boys locker room to use the restroom, according to Mr. Austin. Officer Cronin said, “He didn’t belong there, let’s put it that way.” The officers had the alleged thief empty his pockets. Holliday said he recognized the cell phone of Jay Park ’08, which had been missing since fourth period. Lym, who also had a large amount of cash on him, was taken away in handcuffs. It is unlikely that stolen items will be returned to students. Manager of the Public Safety Department Thomas Conlon said. “More than likely, in situations like this [thieves] sell those things as quickly as possible [in] flea- markets and so forth. There’s quite a call for these items.” According to Andover Police Lieutenant Commander James Hashem, Lym is being charged with trespassing and stealing. On Tuesday, April 11, Lym was arraigned at the Lawrence District Court, which decided to continue the case on April 25 in a scheduled pre-trial conference. Officer Reming said, “I can’t comment on what his previous record is. [Though] we are familiar with him. I can make that statement.” He also said he felt that the members of the PA community who apprehended Lym handled the situation very well. Lt. Hashem said, “Receiving stolen property does carry a jail sentence. It’s up to the court, but I would anticipate some sort of jail sentence.” Throughout the past term, Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards has taken steps to reduce theft on campus. She placed new racks in the dining halls to keep backpacks safe and in sight of their owners. Ms. Edwards said, “I certainly want students to be sure that they keep their backpacks inside the dining halls in the areas that were created for them to do so. The problem is not resolved as we know that there is more than one outside person who is taking things out of backpacks.” Mr. Conlon said “We keep an eye on the area and we hope people, when they see someone who doesn’t belong here, will give us a call, but it’s up to students to secure their belongings.” Holliday said, “We really didn’t do that much other than get the right people involved,” while Santaniello said, “I’m just happy that I was able to help, and I hope the crime slows down or stops.” According to Lym’s neighbor, Jeff Bakkensen ’06, he lives with his parents on Blueberry Hill Road. Though a series of other thefts have occurred on campus over the past two terms, there is no evidence indicating that Lym was involved. Therefore, students are being urged to remain alert despite the apprehension of the alleged perpetrator.