Is theft a problem at Dordt?

Georgia Lodewyk—Staff Writer 

Meet Crash. 

He’s a hot pink scooter Dordt student Justine Combs has owned since the beginning of September. She researched quality scooters on Amazon and settled on the razor for $95. Combs loves Crash’s iconic pink color. He’s tall; she’s tall. It was a perfect match. 

“I was trying to think of metal names,” Combs said, “but I thought ‘Crash’ was funny because it was a scooter.” 

When Combs first bought her scooter, she left it by the bike rack during her classes and outside her dorm at night. But that changed in September. While scooters are commonly stolen around campus and found later at different buildings, this was the first time Crash had gone missing for more than five minutes. It was nowhere to be found. In response, Combs made posters asking for information about Crash. 

“I swear I will hunt you down and you will have to catch some hands,” the poster read. “Violence can be avoided if and only if you return my scooter to Covenant’s lobby.” 

The poster also included Combs’s phone number and was posted to Instagram by student-run accounts Zesty Dordt Memes and Dordt Rants.  

Combs was hopeful when her phone rang later.  

“[expletive] your scooter,” the caller said.  

While Combs thought the prank call was rude, it was “a little funny”. 

Four days later, Crash re-appeared in the Covenant lobby and the two were reunited. Combs decided to not leave Crash outside again, carrying the scooter to class and into the lobby of the Commons during meals. But her period of unification did not last long. Crash went missing again a month later in October, and Combs has not seen it since. 

Combs isn’t the first person on campus to lose something and, unfortunately, she won’t be the last. Derek Buteyn, director of Dordt Residence Life, has heard the complaint before, but only once or twice a semester. 

“Having something taken from you is really frustrating… but a lot issues resolve themselves,” Buteyn said. “We simply don’t have the resources to look for missing scooters… we’re focusing on academics or COVID.” 

The same week Combs searched for her missing scooter, Greta Haas, a freshman, spotted a free chair on the side of the road. While it was old, battered, and blue, Haas thought it would be the perfect edition to her dorm room. She lugged it into her car, pressure washed it, and used tide pods as soap to clean it. Haas took it back to Dordt and set it out to dry by the east entrance of Covenant Hall. She brought the cushion to her dorm room, and then left a sign on the chair: “Not up for grabs- please don’t take.”  

Between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, Haas’s blue chair disappeared. She contacted Dordt maintenance and they checked the Covenant lobby security cameras. The blue chair was never brought into the building. Because Dordt does not have outdoor cameras, Haas was unable to see who stole the chair from the Covenant east entrance. 

Haas was confused.  

“Who wants a dripping wet chair?” Haas said. “It was still wet when they took it… and they don’t have the cushion.” 

Combs’s and Haas’s stories bring up an interesting question on campus. In 2018, the crime statistics at Dordt show a relatively safe campus: no reports of burglary, robbery, or motor vehicle theft. Crimes such as a missing scooter or chair are not included in the annual report because lack of proof and severity make it difficult, but should Dordt students be more concerned about unreported theft? 

“It’s interesting that it’s such an issue on a Christian campus. It surprises me that people just take stuff.” Combs said. “Dordt doesn’t do anything about it… I get there’s no way they could… but I wish they could do more.”  

Combs suggests that Dordt should send mass emails or make announcements to the student body when something goes missing. 

While Greta Haas thinks Dordt should invest in outdoor security cameras to prevent more incidents, she says there are other factors to include.  

“It is Northwest Iowa. There’s not a lot of crime here.” Haas said. 

For students such as Haas and Combs, the main issue is plain frustration. 

 “I just want my scooter back before I go home for Thanksgiving.” Combs said.  

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