Julia Lipman, ‘20, works at Taylor Gym and warns students: “Trust nobody.”
Lipman said the issue regarding personal belongings being stolen in the gym has been more prevalent this semester than most.
A new sign in the locker rooms of Taylor Gym addresses the thieves directly, reading, “Thief, we will catch you!” Although the sign is new, the issue of theft in the gym has been ongoing.
“People are leaving their things and trusting that faculty or students won’t touch anything, but then their stuff is going missing or being moved,” Lipman said.
She said wallets, cash, basketball sneakers, credit cards and jackets have all vanished within the gym walls.
Lipman said she knows people who don’t wear their winter jackets to the gym anymore for fear of them being stolen.
Christy Cullen, ‘21, another Taylor Gym employee, said she believes that the stealing occurs more during heavier hours, when gym traffic is greater. She said when the gym lockers are all being occupied, people are more likely to toss their belongings into a pile on the floor, and expect that the honor system upholds.
A pair of stolen basketball sneakers was the last straw, prompting the gym staff to hang up the signs in the locker rooms, Lipman said.
Cullen said the gym operates on a “If you see something, say something” policy.
“People just want to feel like they can trust other Lehigh students, because we are a small school,” Cullen said. “I don’t even think it’s a lazy thing.”
Kira Kaehler, ’22, frequents the gym as an employee and to work out. Kaehler said she feels that the reasoning behind the theft is because people leave their things unattended in the gym public cubby areas, or out in the locker rooms, unlocked.
People can acquire lockers through the lottery system, Kaehler said.
“So many people come into the gym who are always worried about their stuff getting stolen, and even though I work here, when I come to work out, I get worried about my things getting stolen and misplaced, because the cubbies are very open,” Kaehler said.
Kaehler said she is often faced with people asking her at the front desk if their misplaced item can be found in the lost and found, but more often than not it isn’t there.
Both Cullen and Lipman said after starting to work at the gym, they’ve realized how common thievery is and have been taking more precaution with their own belongings.
They said they encourage people to take the time to lock up their items, even if it means cutting into their workout time, and to leave their valuable items at home.