Last November a breach of trust occurred at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus between students and Aramark maintenance workers. A maintenance worker known as “Marlin,” who has since been fired and barred from campus, allegedly stole about $3,000 worth of personal items from residents in Somers Hall.
What is troubling about the University’s action is twofold. First, UPD did not act until after Aramark fired Marlin. Second, UPD Director Dolores Stafford said evidence proving Marlin committed the crimes does not exist, despite student eyewitness accounts and possession of some of the stolen goods by Marlin. The case is dropped and students are left hanging with some serious debt.
When crimes are committed, more thorough investigations should ensue – especially when as much evidence is available as this case. But in this case, it seems UPD has become too dependent on cameras and card swipers to roll up their sleeves and get down to real police work. This theft seems to be a solvable case, especially since two students actually retrieved her stolen items from the suspect and another saw him enter rooms uninvited with a key and no maintenance request.
The students who confronted the thief took a risky step that could easily have put them in harm’s way. They also hampered UPD’s ability to investigate by failing to report the crime. But in this case, it seems a little investigative work on students’ part got a lot farther than any UPD handiwork.
The student victims in this case seem to be just as guilty of irresponsibility as the University that lets criminals free as long as they don’t work here. Students who notice suspicious activity and witness crimes without letting authorities know are compromising security for themselves and everyone around them. While they do not deserve to have their belongings stolen, they certainly can’t be shocked that it happened.
What we are left with is crimes that seem easy to link to the perpetrator but no continued investigation. We suggest that those students contact the Metropolitan Police Department to correct the situation. There certainly doesn’t seem to be any effort on the University’s end to help them.