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Three thefts in Fine Arts Center over past week

(Erica Lowenkron/ Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center is undergoing a real-life version of “Grand Theft Musical.”

The UMass Police Department is investigating three consecutive thefts in the FAC that occurred last week. Between Sept. 15-23, backpacks, cell phones, wallets, laptops and a pair of shoes have been reported as stolen.

“In all instances, unsecured, unattended backpacks were stolen and items were removed from them, including laptops, cell phones and wallets. UMPD is concentrating on some persons of interest in this ongoing investigation. UMPD reminds students, employees and visitors to not leave valuable items unattended and to be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Mary Dettloff, UMass spokesperson, said.

The last cases of the theft occurred Wednesday, Sept. 20 just before 10 p.m. in the FAC Rand Theater as students were rehearsing for an upcoming musical called “Runaways.”

According to sophomore psychology major Akira Rose, during the 10-minute period the room was left unattended as students shifted from the Rand Theatre to the Curtain Theatre to watch the end of rehearsal, at least seven or eight students had their possessions stolen.

“We came back and it was gone,” said Rose who had her cell phone and wallet stolen. “Basically, I haven’t been able to buy anything. I have no form of communication except my laptop and I need to use that when I need to speak to anyone really, which is a hassle. I had to buy a new UCard.”

Rose said she wasn’t notified of the previous thefts until her own case was reported and wished UMPD would have notified them of the previous thefts that had happened recently in the FAC.

Andres Molano Sotomayor, junior theater and communications major, had his new pair of blue and white Nike Air Maxes stolen that same night.

“I was like okay, they stole the one good pair of shoes I had. I can’t afford shoes. The money that I make goes toward my family, not to spend on shoes,” said Sotomayor. “I don’t think I will get my shoes back.”

While he heard of these types of thefts happening before, he thought his stuff would be safe, as the stage managers had stayed behind when most of the cast went over to the Curtain Theater.

“We are dismayed and upset that department members were the victims of a theft. We don’t want to say anything further at this time because there is an ongoing investigation,” said Julie Fife, production manager of the UMass Theatre Department.

The investigation is ongoing. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Caeli Chesin can be reached at mchesin@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @caeli_chesin.

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