CSI Jacksonville: Crew Van Gets Robbed

CSI Jacksonville: Crew Van Gets Robbed

Members of the Greenwich Academy crew team who spent the second week of their spring break training in Jacksonville, Florida, were prepared for the many challenges that crew entails, but not for a robbery. A relaxing beach day turned sour when a middle-aged man and his son approached some of the team members asking if they had come to the beach in a white van or a blue car, because someone had broken into both vehicles.

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Photo: Christopher Bass

For the past five days, the team had been following a strict schedule. This usually involved waking up at 6:45 to allow enough time to eat breakfast and get dressed for the morning practice. Once at the Episcopal School of Jackson’s boathouse, the team would run laps, do a land workout, which mostly consisted of abdominal circuits, and spend the remainder of the practice on the water.

After morning practice, which usually ended around 11:30, the team would head back to the Hilton Homewood Suites for lunch and a three-hour rest time. Then, they would have their afternoon practice and return to the hotel around 6:15 to get ready for dinner.

On Wednesday March 26, coaches Mr. Nathan Kress, Mrs. Kristen Erickson, and Mr. Richard Klein told the team that their afternoon practice would be replaced with a beach trip and a shopping spree at an outdoor mall. Ecstatic about the change in schedule, the team members came prepared with phones, purses, and wallets. Many girls left these valuables in the van since they did not think they would need them at the beach.

“When driving into the parking lot, I noticed a sign that told people to take everything with you to the beach and not leave anything important in the car. But I don’t think everyone saw it [the sign] and took it seriously,” said rower Kathleen Reynolds, Group X.

“Immediately I knew, it was my van,” Remi Bohbot, X, says of the moment she heard there had been a robbery. “A bunch of us left our phones and wallets in two bags sitting right on the back seat. How much more obvious could it be?”

When the team rushed back to the van, they found that the front passenger side window was broken. Among the stolen items were passports, credit cards, IDs, and cell phones. “Within the first half hour [the burglar] spent $420 on Mr. Kress’s credit card and $150 on someone else’s,” Bohbot said.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later, the police arrived and took down all of the necessary information. “They [the police] said that they would do what they could…but that they probably wouldn’t be able to find anything,” said rower Dani Kwait, IX.

After cleaning out the broken glass from the car and taping a towel to the broken window, the team went straight back to the hotel for dinner and ice cream. The next day, they exchanged the damaged van for a new one.

The robbery was certainly a wake up call for some girls who are accustomed to the safe hallways of GA, where we can leave an iPhone in the middle of the student center before class and find it in the same spot at the end of the day.

“The students were…really emotional because they didn’t really think that that would happen to them,” said Rower Sarah Saco, XI. Panic was widespread and those not in tears were busy consoling those who were.

In the end, the robbery actually strengthened the team’s bond. All of teammates who had not been robbed helped their victimized teammates in any way possible, whether that was lending money, letting teammates use their phone, or giving teammates emotional support. According to Bohbot, “We survived throughout the rest of the trip, but I think it was the hardest feeling victimized.”