The Castleton campus encountered a recent high- theft incident when a student’s car was stolen on Nov. 8 from one of the campus’s parking lots.
A 2003 silver Chrysler Town & Country van had been parked in a handicap space in the northern portion of the commuter lot directly behind the library and was reported stolen at approximately 7 p.m.
The vehicle belonged to a junior social work major named Regina Barney who commutes from Rutland. Barney transferred to Castleton after receiving an associates degree at CCV.
“I think I may have left it unlocked, as I have the keys, but that still didn’t give someone the right to take it from me and my son,” said Barney who parked her car around 3:30 p.m. before heading to class.
Castleton Public Safety officers held a campus wide search for the van, but due to jurisdiction issues the case was turned over to local police to broaden the search.
Public Safety sent out a campus- wide e-mail immediately following informing students of the situation and encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
“In my seven years as director of Public Safety, it’s the first time this has happened,” said Robert Godlewski.
Godlewski states that Public Safety officers are constantly out patrolling and monitoring the campus in hopes of catching crimes like this before they happen.
“This is not an area where we’ve had problems before,” he said.
Though the loss of her van was devastating, Barney was more disturbed by the personal items that were taken in the theft.
“The first thing I thought was ‘oh my god, my son’s things were in there,'” she said, adding that her 18-months-old’s stroller, car seat, and winter clothes were all in the van.
Among these items was her son’s irreplaceable blanket made by his nanna just a month before she passed away. Just the thought of her son never seeing it again made Barney’s heart drop.
“It wasn’t until I was with security that I thought about my laptop that took me four months to save for or almost all my school books and work for other classes,” she said.
Now relying on public transportation, Barney has been forced to change her daily life and habits to adapt to the unexpected theft.
“I get up earlier, I had to change sitters due to transportation issue and I don’t have books for my classes or my computer to do school work on,” she said.
With the van yet to be located, members of the community have reached out to help Barney replace some of her valued lost items.
Barney states that several teachers have aided her by providing rides home so she did not have to leave class early in order to catch the bus, as well as donating essential items that were taken.
“I’ve been a mom returning to college, so I know how hard it is,” said English Professor Elizabeth Ashworth, who provided Barney with a stroller for her son.
Ashworth believes that a lot is done to help others on this campus, such as food drives and blood donations, but we sometimes lose sight of our own students here on campus who may be in need.
“I wish I could do more,” she said.
Barney is very grateful for the help and support that she has received and hopes that the college will consider putting cameras in all areas of campus to prevent further thefts.
“I will not stop coming to college,” she said stressing the hard work she put in as a single mother to get her first degree before furthering her education at Castleton.
“But it is discouraging to know that this might have not needed to happen if we had security cameras and people were aware of them.”