The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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South theft rates increase

Students share personal stories of stolen belongings
Under Watch: Officer Adam Uscicki keeps surveillance at South from his office, with monitors projecting live feedback from the building’s 177 security cameras, inside and outside the school. The camera’s footage can be used in cases of car accident outside, altercations inside, and stolen property. Photo by Gaby Yap

Running late into the pungent air of the locker rooms for her Gold 4 class, freshman Savannah Steck hurriedly sets up base at her locker. She goes through her normal routine, getting into uniform and, more importantly, securing all of her items.

She fits what she can into her assigned lockers. Everyone is assigned two lockers. One smaller: designated for items meant to be locked up, and a larger one in which she places her backpack. After getting to class later than usual, one item is missing from Steck’s smaller locker: her phone. A contrast to her normal routine, she tucks her phone underneath her backpack, unlocked. She locks only the mini locker, as students are heavily encouraged to do at the beginning of each semester, and moves along to class.

When class gets out, Steck returns to her spot, packing everything up for home. After getting dressed into her regular clothes, she takes a final look around and heads towards the locker with her backpack inside. Picking it up, however, her phone is no longer there. Steck assumes she must have misplaced it, but after a sift through her belongings, it is nowhere to be found.

Once back home in her bedroom, she digs through everything. Her backpack is overturned, no corner left unchecked. But, two days later, her suspicions are confirmed.

After a friend came across a phone in the lost and found, she quickly alerted Steck of the find. Reunited with her device in a location completely outside the locker room, Steck tries to catch up on everything missed, except the phone had been disabled for another two days. It becomes apparent to her that someone had tried to get into her phone but was, fortunately, unsuccessful.

“On the first day of gym, [PE teachers] were bringing up pretty frequently that stuff has been getting stolen,” Steck said.


Steck’s situation is not a unique occurrence at South. For the 2022-2023 school year, 15 thefts were reported in total, according to Ashly Song, Assistant Dean of Students. However, this year, 15 thefts have been reported, so far. These numbers do not include unreported thefts (see sidebar to the left). The bulk of these incidents for both years were based in the cafeteria and locker rooms, Song explained.

“I am seeing more frequency in those numbers, which is why we encourage students to make sure that everything is locked up,” Song said.

There is a process for recovering personal items stolen. Students report to Adam Uscicki, School Resource Officer, and an investigation ensues, Song explained. Investigations continue until students are reunited with their stolen items, Song said. Uscicki has received more reports of locker room thefts this year, the main cause being students not locking up their belongings.

“I can’t think of any bonafide case where something [stolen] was secured by the owner and then stolen on property,” Uscicki. “There’s a lot of people here, and a lot of opportunities [for theft]. If [someone] wants something that they don’t have and it’s unsecured and available, they think it is okay to take it.”

unreported thefts

The numbers do not include unreported thefts, such as the case with Pawel Odziomek, Yoon Oh, Tess Varga.

Junior Pawel Odziomek left his earbuds on the desk in his French class. He forgot to take them to his next class, and he came back to check his last block and they were not there. His did not see anything, so he checked the lost and found and they also were not there. He asked the front desk, and the still did not have anything. He continued checking for the next week and they never turned up. They were worth $150.

Senior Yoon Oh was in the PE locker rooms. She always used to keep her bag outside the locker because it was always too full to fit, so she left it out like how she had been doing the last two years without a problem. But, this year, for some reason, when she opened her wallet, there was $40 missing.

Senior Tess Varga was running late to PE  because she was coming from an appointment. She quickly changed, getting out earlier than usually, and when she came back, her locker was wide open and her crewneck was gone. She first thought it must have fallen somewhere, but soon realized it was fully gone. That crewneck meant a lot to her. She never found that crewneck.

“It felt like a safe space should have been monitored a little better,” Varga said. “Ever since that day, I’ve been locking my locker.”

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