Theft from Film Society office comes with added costs

Some time between 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 and 3 p.m. on Feb. 4, $200 was stolen from cash boxes in the Case Western Reserve University Film Society’s locked office in Strosacker Auditorium.

According to a university spokesperson, “There were no signs of forced entry, only missing property, which leads us to believe that the property was stolen by someone with access.”

Liz Caceci, director of the Film Society, said there is no reason for her to believe that the thief is an officer of Film Society, because money in other boxes that an officer would have known about was not taken.

“The initial thought was ‘oh man, this sucks,’ and then it just kept getting worse,” she said.

According to the Film Society’s records, there are currently about 41 keys available for the office. These records show that current (and some recently graduated) Film Society officers have a key to the office, as well as security and custodial staff. The Film Society does not have sole control of these keys, since those in the possession of security and custodial staff are not issued through Film Society.

This theft will cost the Film Society more than the initial $200 that was stolen from their office, Caceci said. Film has begun looking into ways to improve the security of their office, including getting the lock to their office changed and more tightly restricting who gets a key.

The university is charging the Film Society to replace the lock, and will charge them for each new key they request for the new lock. They will also limit the number of keys Film Society can request, even though there has previously not been a charge or limit on new keys.

“We were told it will probably be a couple hundred dollars,” Caceci said about having the lock replaced.

With the cost of a new lock and news keys for each officer, the stolen $200 becomes a several-hundred-dollar expense.

Despite there being over 800 security cameras around campus, there is no security camera providing coverage near the Film Society’s office.

“There’s three right here,” said Caceci, pointing to various security cameras in sight from a seat in the Tinkham Veale University Center. “There’s not even one in Strosacker.”

A new security camera costs $1,500, and installation costs vary by location, said a university spokesperson. According to Caceci, paying to get a camera installed is impossible for Film Society. A university official told her that if Film Society wanted a camera, they would be on the hook for the cost.

“Not only is it not something we can feasibly do, it just doesn’t seem right,” Caceci said.

The stolen $200 and the charges associated with a new lock and keys will come out of Film Society revenue, money that is normally used for purchasing new equipment and paying the officers for their work.

“I put the same amount of hours into this as a normal job,” Caceci said.

After these deductions, officer wages will drop below their current level of about $7 an hour.

“What I would probably do is take a larger cut from my own salary,” Caceci said. “I would probably be a little tight on money with rent and everything, but … ” she trailed off at this point, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s been a long semester. I’ve had a lot to deal with, and then this just added to it.”

This is an open and active criminal investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Daniel Schemmel, a detective sergeant with CWRU police, at or 216.368.5993 or anonymously through our website or the CWRU Shield App.