After reported extensive planning, costume shopping and, and late night hiding, four Wabash College students were unable to steal the Monon Bell from the Lilly Center.
The attempted theft occurred at approximately 2 a.m. on Oct. 19, while most DePauw students were off-campus for Fall Break, according to Lieutenant Rick Keller, of the Greencastle Police, who witnessed the spectacle.
The three students, Aaron Scott, 21, Mason Owens Simmons, 18, and Schuyler Nehrig, 19, who physically took the bell were caught on video, two wearing Barack Obama masks and one wearing a Donald Trump mask.
The three Little Giants used an array of tools to unbolt the bell, cover the bell clapper with a sock, and place the bell on a dolly, securing it with zip ties. The men did not know there was a pressure alarm that sounds when the bell is removed and left small scratches on the bell’s display, but no major damage was done.
The students managed to roll the bell outside of the Lilly Center where their getaway driver, Brendan McCoy, 19, was waiting for them. Unfortunately for the Little Giants, Keller was waiting for them as well.
Keller had filed the police report, saying he originally saw the suspicious getaway pick-up truck parked in front of College Street Hall and called the dispatcher to get a record of the license plate.
He also noted receiving a call back from the dispatcher about a “priority 2” alarm coming from the Monon Bell display. As Keller approached the Lilly Center, he saw the supposed thieves in white coveralls and masks pushing the Monon Bell on a dolly.
In his report, Keller wrote that he stopped the three men outside of Lilly and asked them why he should not charge them with theft. One of the three men replied with the simple answer, “tradition.”
In an interview, Jack Kellerman, Wabash student body president, said, “I think that’s honest to goodness the truth.Now, I don’t think it’s excusable. I think it fails to consider the ‘Gentleman’s Rule’.”
Wabash’s ‘Gentleman Rule’ refers to the one rule of the university conduct which is “to act like gentlemen at all given times on and off campus and be a responsible citizen,” Kellerman said.
Kellerman also said Wabash’s dean is taking this incident very seriously and plans to discipline the group.
Student leaders have met with the dean of Wabash and were informed that there will be repercussions and the students will be met with in order to address the issue.
Nehrig had already made a name for himself as the kicker for Wabash’s football team when he took his blocked field goal attempt back for a touchdown in a recent game against Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Although the three men did not complete their goal of stealing the Bell, they arrived at DePauw at approximately 6 p.m. the evening prior to the alleged theft.
Jalen Friendly, a sophomore DePauw football player, said, “I just want to know how they laid under bleachers for 6 hours.”
Now that is some off-field dedication.
The Little Giants will get a legal crack at taking back the bell on Saturday, Nov. 11, when DePauw hosts the 124th Monon Bell game at 1:09 p.m. at Blackstock Stadium.