One of the great traditions of the Monon Bell game is stealing the massive, 300 pound Monon Bell.
In fact, this was once such a common tradition that now when DePauw has the bell, it is typically on a pressure sensor. When disturbed, it triggers a silent alarm. While Wabash doesn't have a silent alarm, the bell is currently located in the athletic building in an alcove above the doors of the front entrance, making it almost impossible to even reach. During the week leading up to the game, whoever has the bell will place it in a public place, but it is oftentimes guarded by volunteer students.
With all this security, it seems almost impossible to successfully steal the Monon Bell, but it has been done before. With the help of Ken Owen and Bill Wagner, we were able to compile a list of the top five most iconic successful bell heists from the least to most iconic.
- In 1973, DePauw’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) stole the bell from Wabash. Shortly after, Wabash students surrounded SAE’s house to demand it back and the bell was returned.
- In 1998 on Halloween night, Wabash students snuck into the Lily Center and managed to bring the massive bell down from the alcove. They returned the bell prior to the game.DePauw won the game with a landslide victory, earning the right to keep the bell for another year. This was the last successful bell heist.
- In 1979, DePauw students once again stole the bell from Wabash. However, instead of trying to steal the bell back, Wabash students stole other items from DePauw fraternity houses to ransom back the bell. Meeting in a secluded area between Greencastle and Crawfordsville, the two schools agreed to give back the stolen items.
- In 1978, members of DePauw Sigma Chi stole the bell from the Wabash Gym only weeks prior to the game. Around 200-300 Wabash men stormed the campus to retrieve it, taking over a sorority in the process. 11 people were arrested.
- In 1965, Wabash students posed as Mexican dignitaries interested in bringing more Mexican students to DePauw. During this meeting, they asked to see the campus and photograph the famous bell. While the dean at the time was wary, he allowed it. Later, the group of Wabash students snuck into DePauw and stole the bell.
Honorable mention: In 1966, only a week or so after winning the bell, DePauw students decided to steal it from themselves to hide it from Wabash. They buried it in Blackstock Stadium, and it was only dug up during the third quarter of the 1967 Monon Bell game. Sadly was won back by Wabash.