Unidentified Teenagers Steal From Backpacks in Paresky Commons

Three unidentified teenagers rifled through three backpacks in Paresky Commons on Monday evening. One hundred and sixty dollars were stolen from from one of the backpacks.

During dinner, the teenagers took the backpacks, which belong to Foster Conklin ’16 and two other unidentified Andover students, from the cubbies in the Commons lobby and brought the bags downstairs to Susie’s.

Conklin was the only one of the three who reported anything missing, according to Tom Conlon, Director of Phillips Academy Public Safety (PAPS).

“I found [my backpack] on the metal rack down by [Susie’s] and looked through it. Everything seemed to be there, until I got to the back pocket where I kept my wallet. My wallet was open and empty—the night before I had bought dinner for a bunch of people, and they paid me back in cash, so I had $160 in my wallet,” said Conklin.

Conklin brought the incident to the attention of PAPS, who then reviewed surveillance tapes from the cameras in Commons. They found that the three teenagers had each taken a bag downstairs, where they searched through the contents.

“[PAPS is] talking to the police, so I hope that they will find some way to identify them, but I’m not getting my hopes up,” said Conklin.

Conlon said, “You could pick them out right away because our students either put their backpacks in the cubbies or on the floor or go right to the servery. These three individuals came in and went right to the cubbies and brought the backpacks down to Susie’s. They were only in there for a matter of about two minutes. They must have gone through the backpacks outside Susie’s, and they left them downstairs outside the Student Activities Office.”

PAPS alerted the Andover Police Department to the incident. Police officers will check the surveillance tapes to try to identify the teenagers, according to Conlon.

“You really can’t get good facial recognition, so unless these three individuals are known to the police, there is probably no way that they are going to be caught,” said Conlon.

If the teenagers are caught, they will be issued a no-trespass order, which states that if they are caught again on campus, they will be arrested.

The following night, PAPS stationed several officers in Commons to see if the perpetrators would return, according to Conlon.

This is the first incident this year of theft in Commons. In the past, most missing backpacks have been taken accidentally and have shown up sometime later, according to Conlon.