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NEWS | April 3, 2006

Unsecured property just asks to be stolen

By Matthew R. Weir 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

There were eight reports of unsecured property theft July 25 through 28 on Langley. Six of those thefts happened at the Shellbank Fitness Center. People did not lock their belongings in a locker before heading to work out and someone went through those unsecured lockers and took keys, wallets and bags.

One of the victims was 1st Lt. Jeffrey Hermann. The thief took his cash, racked up charges on his credit cards and “stole a lot of my respect for the base populace,” he said.

Sometimes the thieves were brash enough to walk through the parking lot afterward randomly pushing the lock button on the alarm remote until they found the car that the keys belonged to by the sound of the horn -- they ended up stealing two cars.

In response to the situation, the Shellbank Fitness Center staff informed customer how they can secure their items, the Nutrition Connection started selling locks, and the 1st Security Forces Squadron and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation worked together to catch the criminals involved and provide a safer environment at the fitness center.

Today, the fitness center is safer and people help by watching out for one another’s belonging.

I know this because I recently lost my wallet after working out at the gym and it was returned to me with nothing missing.

My credit cards were unused and the single dollar bill that I carry in case of emergency was still sitting there in the middle of the fold -- lonely as usual.

I learned several lessons by losing my wallet that day.

One, keep your things in a place where your less likely to lose them like your back pocket, not your jacket pocket, which was hung over my arm because it was a nice day.

Two, there are still honest people out there who will return personal items to people who lost them.

I want to say thank you to whomever it was who turned my wallet into the fitness center staff. You could have just as easily taken my one dollar or my credit cards and my respect for the base populace just like Lieutenant Hermann, but you didn’t.

I wish there were more people like you out there so that people didn’t have to worry about locking their belongings.

But until everyone is as honest as the person who turned in my wallet, I suggest everyone secure their personal belongings.