Campusers often find themselves with a roommate or two. Trust me you can have studied with a person for 6 years in high school and you still don’t know their true colors. So whether it’s a stranger or a best friend from high school, theft can surely happen. While splitting bills, hosting room parties and having a fun friend to swap clothes with can be great, it can also be tricky if that “gorilla note” on top of your dresser is missing. Or the phone you recently bought mysteriously disappeared. You know you left it there 5minutes ago and no one except your roomie accessed the room then. Unfortunately, it’s possible to end up with a thief for a roommate. Roommate theft can be tricky if there isn’t any clear-cut evidence or if your roommate is a friend. If you suspect your roommate is stealing from you, here are a few steps you can take:
First, make sure you didn’t misplace whatever you think has been stolen. It would be awful if you confronted him or her and found the missing stuff under in your suitcase. Don’t automatically assume your roommate is the thief. There could be multiple thieves. It could be your roommate’s friend, a friend of a friend, a stranger, etc. But also remember, No roommate will ever say “Yes, I’m the one who has been stealing your things.” So unless you have proof beyond reasonable doubt, don’t point any fingers.
Mention the disappearance.
If you suspect your roommate is stealing from you, casually mention that you noticed an item was missing. Then ask if they’ve seen it. Regardless of their answer, they’re now aware you know it’s missing. Remember, unless you have absolute proof, such as video, he or she is innocent until proven guilty.
File a police report.
If the missing item or items was expensive, you should definitely file a police report. This also shows that you took reasonable steps to recover your belongings. Let them know that you have informed the authorities and investigations are ongoing. This might put pressure on them if they are indeed the thief and they might even return the stolen item anonymously.
Calmly confront your roommate once you have evidence.
Try to have a low-key conversation when you’re not upset or stressed out. You’ll be able to keep a clearer head and proceed carefully while giving them a chance to be honest. Just know that they may still deny it, even if you present proof. Try as hard as you can to be calm and don’t get violent whatsoever.
Unfortunately, it’s possible you won’t get your property back even after taking these steps. If nothing else works to convince your light-fingered roomie, make sure you don’t keep valuables in the room. Find a trustworthy friend elsewhere that can hold on to them until the semester ends and look for a new room and roomie.