Advocate Robbed

Irreplaceable Mantlepiece Missing

Poetry board members of The Harvard Advocate discovered the bizarre theft of their fireplace mantlepiece during a meeting yesterday, according to executive board member Connie You '97.

"There's a hole in the wall instead of a fireplace," said President Priya R. Aiyar '96. "The fireplace had a big wood molding around it. We figure it must have been taken sometime last night, because no one was in the building then."

The mantlepiece is irreplaceable, Aiyar said. "It's old, custom-made," she said. "It was donated when [The Advocate] first got the building."

Advocate members said they realized a theft had occurred when the back door of the building--normally bolted--was discovered open. A stereo was also missing, You said.

The intruders apparently entered the building by breaking a window lock, Aiyar said. Car tracks were found in the rear of the building, she added.


The Advocate has been a target of repeated larceny in recent weeks--the president's chair, a wooden seat with the Advocate seal carved into it, was stolen about two weeks ago, Aiyar said.

"We called the police, and they were like: `Oh, you again?'" Aiyar joked.

"[The Advocate is] kind of easy to break in," said Allison Crapo '96. "The wood is kind of old. And a lot of people have keys to the building."

Aiyar said at first she thought the missingmantlepiece was a prank by members of the HarvardLampoon, a semi-secret Bow Street socialorganization that publishes a so-called humormagazine. But the Lampoon denied having taken thechair or the mantlepiece, Aiyar said.

The thieves left evidence behind, You said. Alarge ice-shovel, which was left on the floor, wasallegedly used to pry the molding off thefireplace, You said.

"The police thought the theft was prettyserious," You said. "Even if it was a prank, it'svandalism."

"[The theft] was pre-meditated," Crapo said. "Idon't think it was a prank. Whoever did itintended to do it--they came with a car and theright tools. It's not like haphazardly deciding totake the chair."

Detectives assigned to the case tookphotographs and "dusted the wall and thesurrounding areas" for finger prints, You said.Advocate officers, however, said the police'smethods were questionable.

"They weren't very smart about it," Crapo said."One officer just picked up the ice-shovel withhis hands and later dusted it for finger-printswith his own finger-prints all over it."

Several Advocate members interviewed last nightsaid they suspect Harvard students might havecommitted the crime because of the thieves'apparent familiarity with the building.

The Harvard Police did not provide anyinformation about the case when contacted lastnight