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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hamline chapter.

When I returned to campus for the start of spring semester, I was met with devastating news: something incredibly important to me had been stolen from my locker in DFA. The locker itself had been completely destroyed and my instrument was nowhere to be found. While I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, if something like this inadvertently happens to you, here are some steps you should take.

Inform someone:

Talk to the director of the building as soon as you notice something is missing to see if they know anything. Even if they do, talk to Safety and Security so they can take down your report to prevent this from happening to someone else. Give them every piece of information you can think of, even if it seems silly, a full description of the item is necessary if you want your item back.

Call your parents:

You might not want to admit to your parents that you just had something stolen, but trust me, this is an essential step. If your parents are like mine, they are incredibly organized and will be able to provide you with more crucial information about your item, such as a serial number and the true value of it. This information is vital for a police report. Your parents can also tell you if their insurance will cover the cost of any damage, something that may prove useful if you find your item, or cover the cost of buying a new one.

File a Police Report:

Even if your stolen item is a backpack, informing the police of the robbery is important so they can recognize emerging crime patterns. Give them every piece of information you can think of – the serial number if you have one and the rough price range if you know it. Show them to the place your item was stolen from so they can take pictures of the scene.

Call nearby pawn shops:

I don’t recommend actually going into pawn shops, but call the nearby shops and give them the information on your item. If your item was expensive like mine, chances are the person who took it is looking to make some money off of it. If the shops have your information and the police report number, they will be able to keep an eye out for your item and inform the police if they find it. The police will also contact the shops, but if you’re like me, you’ll feel better if you give them the information yourself.

Check on Facebook marketplace, craigslist or other online stores:

Perhaps the thief isn’t big into pawning and they would rather sell your item online. Keep a lookout on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Ebay to see if your item shows up.

Stay calm:

I know it’s frustrating to have your personal items stolen from a place that should be safe – mine was in a metal locker with a combination lock – but the best thing for you to do is to stay calm. If you’ve done everything on this list, there isn’t much more you can do but keep an eye out.

If something of yours has been stolen from Hamline, I am truly sorry. It’s something no one should have to go through. Though I tried to cover the bases, this list is not exhaustive. If you see any suspicious activity on campus or need to report a theft contact Safety and Security at 651-523-2100.

Lauren Stretar is a student at Hamline University studying creative writing and sociology. She has two poems published.
Madelaine Formica is nineteen. She is the Campus Correspondent for the Hamline HerCampus Chapter. She's been published for her scripts on jaBlog and for a short story in Realms YA magazine. She's also a senior reporter for The Oracle and a literary editor for Fulcrum literary magazine.