Andover Boys Squash Computers Go Missing at Exeter Game

The Exeter Police Department is currently investigating the case of the

After returning from an Andover Boys Squash match at Phillips Exeter Academy, five Andover students—Brendon Chung ’22, Shep Hearle ’22, Matt Ottenbreit ’22, Jack Palfrey ’21, and Brooks Robinson ’22— discovered that their laptops had gone missing from their bags. The bags had been left unattended in the Exeter locker room.

Twenty-five students attended the match at Exeter, with all of the Varsity and JV1 teams competing, as well as some members of the JV2 team. While the actual theft of the computers hasn’t been confirmed, Ottenbreit, a member of the JV2 team, feels that under the circumstances of the event, the computers could have been stolen.

Ottenbreit said, “The top 25 players in the Boys Squash program went to Exeter and we swept them 25-0, and then once we returned to campus, five of us realized that our laptops were missing. And so once we realized that there were others and we realized that we didn’t just lose them or misplace them, we realized [they] must have been stolen. And the only time this could have happened was when our bags were in the locker room while we were playing.”

Chung, a member of the JV1 team, brought his backpack so he could do homework during the bus rides. Similar to Ottenbreit, Chung thought he had simply misplaced his computer, but realized something was wrong when he ran into other teammates also searching for their computers.

“When I came back on campus… and was trying to do my homework, I realized that my computer was gone. I was looking around all the places I was at before I went and then I ran into Matt, and he asked ‘Oh, are you also missing your computer?’ and then we realized that something was definitely wrong, because there’s no way we both forgot. We were looking around campus to find other people, and then went to [Paresky] Commons and we saw Jack Palfrey. And then we also met Brooks. They also lost their computers,” Chung said.

According to Jennifer Elliott ’94, Assistant Head of School for Residential Life and Dean of Students, the Exeter police department is currently working to determine who, if anyone, may have stolen the laptops. The Andover Help Desk is also trying to help accommodate the students affected by lending them loaner laptops.

Elliott wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Right now the Exeter, N.H. police are investigating the incident. We are so sorry that our students have had this experience. It is really terrible. Our technology team has provided them loaners, and we are really hoping that the police will have information for us in the days ahead.”

Chung doesn’t remember the locker room being locked, although the locker room was only assigned to Andover students. Additionally, the lack of cameras in the locker room makes identifying a potential thief more difficult, despite efforts by Exeter personnel to do so.

Chung said, “I’m guessing that since none of us went back to lockers during games… that someone might have gone down into the locker rooms during our game and taken it… We contacted our coach. He said he contacted the people working at Exeter. They said they’re working on looking through footage. They said that there’s no cameras in the locker rooms. They’re still working on it, I guess.”

Hearle noted that the players with missing laptops couldn’t get loaner computers until Friday, two days after the incident. He was unable to do his classwork, delaying several assignments for his English and Religion and Philosophy classes.

“I was able to get a loaner…But [earlier] they wouldn’t allow us to get [loaners] because only people who gave laptops in to the tech office to get them repaired can get loaners. So I had to get extensions for basically all my writing assignments for my English and my Relphil,” Hearle said.

Robinson was angry at the potential theft of the laptops, and hopes they can be prevented in the future through additional security.

Robinson said, “I think that we should be able to lock our visiting locker rooms with a key of some sort. I don’t know how it worked up at Exeter, but I’m not sure that the visiting locker rooms were able to locked, so I think that anyone pretty much could have just gone into the locker room without having to get a key or a password of some sort. I think an easy way to prevent that would just be to add a lock or a password.”