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Campus News

Gladfelter Burglarized, ATM Ruined

by Tim Burkhardt, staff writer

Photos by Wyatt Pace

Was this an attempted robbery? Was it a misguided and ineffective statement against corporate banking? One thing is for certain, it was a felony.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Gladfelter was burglarized. The unidentified subject (or subjects) gained access to the building by breaking two windows in the student activities office in lower Glad. Upstairs, the as-yet-unidentified burglar attempted to gain access to the BB&T ATM by method of blowtorch.

The letters “OWS,” were spray-painted on a wall by the ravaged machine. It seems that the perpetrator either intended to throw police off the trail by using the Occupy Wall Street movement as a scapegoat, or that there is a seriously confused anarchist in our midst.

According to the police, the criminal failed to get his or her hands on any cash, but did burn some of the money and ruin the ATM. Hopefully nobody will need to make any withdrawals this weekend.

Was this an attempted robbery? Was it a misguided and ineffective statement against corporate banking? One thing is for certain, it was a felony. The Warren Wilson ATM has been vandalized five times over the last three years, but this is a new degree of destruction. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department is investigating; they were at the crime scene Thursday morning and on into the afternoon, searching for clues.

It is not clear whether or not the police have any solid leads, but they have been questioning students on campus. When asked about the investigation, an officer on the scene who wished to remain unidentified stated, “Your school’s got some real idiots here.” When asked if that was meant to imply that a Warren Wilson student was a suspect, the officer responded, “We’re operating under the assumption that it could be anybody.” He then returned to dusting for fingerprints.

Read News Editor Christian Diaz’s Letter from the Editor concerning the break-in 


11 Responses to “Gladfelter Burglarized, ATM Ruined”

  1. Hey Tim – Thanks for your response to this incident. It’s always difficult to report when it’s close to home. However, next time you make a sweeping comment like, “seriously confused anarchist in our midst”, please remember how confused and anarchistic our government and large corporations go about ‘business as usual’ every day (including BBT bank – whose ATM was trashed). If it was a fellow student, let’s all remain patient and not immediately pass judgement as to their political title – nor add an negative connotation to their name without understanding the act first. Since the officer (whose comments are infuriating, ignorant and completely false in of themselves) gave you no such evidence to say who it actually was, please try to refrain from ringing the witch hunt bell. This was obviously an act that demanded a response and maybe this person(s) can’t express their concerns as well as you – through writing – so they destroyed public property to make themselves heard. You have the Echo as your medium – maybe they need you to help them find theirs. We aren’t in the business, at Wilson, to blame, point fingers, or immediately pass judgement upon those who ‘do wrong’ as our entire society tells us to do so. As a community, let’s not condone this act but rather ask ourselves why it happened, why the people involved felt it necessary to do so and what can come of this in the future. Again, thanks for your article on this – I’m interested to see what the campus does about this and if any one else has an interest in this beyond the act its self.

    Posted by Julian | February 26, 2012, 2:39 pm
  2. destroying public property such as that is idiotic. those big business operate within the law unlike the person who tried to break into the atm. Thanks to the idiot that did this we will no longer have an atm on campus.

    Posted by bob | February 27, 2012, 8:30 pm
  3. Actually one does have the right to pass judgement on this action, because the action itself was entirely transparent; thus one already has a foundation to make a judgement on it. The person(s) who did this vandalized an ATM and left a spray painted OWS on the wall; it seems to me that the message itself is the farthest thing from cryptic, as the dialogue that has ensued has almost entirely revolved around money and its place in contemporary society. As far as I’m concerned, if a person is so concerned about money and its place in institutional education, and that it seems to be to them so troubling, then they should in fact choose to not be in school. If you do not like how a place does business, then stop giving them your money. If it is somehow all about the cause itself, then dedicate yourself entirely to it, don’t reduce it to deplorable actions. Moreover, any individual that is upset with the way Wilson uses their money should know by now that there are people and places on campus to go to directly to voice their concerns. With that said, I choose not to bite the hand that feeds me (both literally and figuratively), for if it were not for Wilson grants I would not be able to pay for both tuition and essential living expenses.

    Posted by Wes | February 27, 2012, 10:22 pm
  4. I hope the police figure out who did this! Now I have to ride the bus all the way into town before I can buy cigarettes, because my friends are too drunk at night to drive me to the gas station! They’ve also stopped letting me bum off of them, and I have too much homework during the week to go. This ATM break-in was illegal! At least big businesses like Sodexo abide by the law when they exploit workers and children in Africa. This ATM personally affects me, and I’m entitled as a student to have easy access to my parent’s money! Bob and Wes are totally right! Anyone who disagrees with Wilson’s problems should leave instead of complaining! The same goes for anyone else, because those gay people who were tabling a couple weeks ago should’ve just left North Carolina for Canada if they actually cared about gay marriage. I’m pissed that Martin Luther King Jr didn’t just leave the South back in the 60s. He whined too much just like those guys on campus who keep talking about occupy. They shouldn’t be organizing to change things because it might actually work, and I’m scared of change. I’m ready for the witch hunt, are you?

    Posted by Fred | March 2, 2012, 1:19 am
  5. To alter the foundations of an institution you need more than a chisel and hammer (or in this case a blowtorch and spray paint). People can complain all they want, but before they put a collected thought together beyond frustration then not much will happen. You overlooked my point I made about students having people and places to go to voice their concerns. Those are there for a reason, and overlooking those people and places and instead finding the destruction of property to somehow be more valuable is unfortunate. I’m not against positive change by any means. I just find it to be the case that positive change is legitimated by careful discourse, not by acts such as the vandalizing of the ATM. MLK didn’t whine, and he certainly didn’t reduce his actions to senseless destruction. Legalizing gay marriage comes from a unity of voices, not from throwing bricks.

    Posted by Wes | March 2, 2012, 4:13 am
  6. Wes,

    Your argument and philosophy have a valid and solid point. To your credit, this was indeed an act that has spawned (presumably) the adverse reaction the student wanted to accomplish in their act. However, in the idea and manifestation of such an act we need to step back and recognize that this student needs a medium. They do not need punishment nor verbal assault from their actions. I would assume many other students on campus have a way of channeling their hate or ideals in ways in which that do not detrimentally effect other students. Your comment on needing more than a chisel and hammer was right on, and it would be in our best interest to find ways in which this particular student can be educated to do without. Can you imagine (presuming they go to jail – I haven’t heard the outcome, have you?) that instead of prison they are made to commit themselves more to the Wilson community by raised service/work hours? Or, if they were to sit in on a discussion with other students, apologizing for their reactions and allowing space for others to express their disgust with the student? In turn, this will show that we do not stand for this type of behavior, yet we still accept you into this community and value your thoughts. This type of ‘community pressure’ would be ten-fold more beneficially instead of pointing the finger and pontificating our own beliefs. I hope we can heal this action rather than shunning it and moving on – I hope we don’t mimic our current failed American system of imprisonment and dehumanization techniques.

    Posted by Julian | March 4, 2012, 8:50 pm
  7. Julian,

    Thank you for the civil response. First off, suggesting that whoever did this doesn’t have some kind of other “creative medium” to voice their frustrations is purely speculative, and if that’s the case, they could have went to a number of places and people on campus to to do so. Moreover, there are countless numbers of people who don’t have these “creative mediums” that don’t go around destroying property. Suppose a person isn’t a writer, painter, or musician (plenty of people aren’t), and they get bad service at a restaurant (happens all the time). Would you take them seriously if they burnt the restaurant down and their explanation was that they didn’t have a “creative medium” to handle their anger? Furthermore, as nice as it would be to live in a society where punishment does not always equal time in jail/prison, our community is not a sovereign place. We may act as our own kind of polity, but we’re still subject to a rule of law outside of Wilson property; that is to say, a federal offense is treated as a federal offense regardless of what a community such as ours may says. BB&T is taking this very seriously, and while the Wilson community may have its own ideals regarding punishment, if whoever did this gets caught, that’s not the punishment they’ll be receiving.

    Posted by Wes | March 5, 2012, 12:57 am
  8. I would just like to say that Wes’s last post was dead on.The assumption that the perpetrator did not have access to a “creative medium” to express zirself is totally unfounded. Also, Wes, I could not put this any more succinctly: Warren Wilson is not its own sovereign state in the United States! Discussing alternative forms of punishment/remediation is certainly a worthwhile topic to discuss, but in this case, we must acknowledge the material ramifications of the perpetrator’s actions.

    Posted by Chandler Jones | March 7, 2012, 10:40 pm
  9. Hey Tim – Thanks for your response to this incident.

    Posted by Charyn | March 10, 2012, 10:59 pm
  10. excellent issues altogether, you just won a new reader.

    What might you suggest in regards to your put up that you made a few days ago?
    Any certain?

    Posted by Jacqueline | October 5, 2014, 6:53 pm


  1. [...] coming from Warren Wilson College located in the Oteen/Swannanoa area at the end of last month. An ATM belonging to BB&T was attacked in the middle of the night on February 27th according to the Warren Wilson Echo. Someone broke into [...]

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