Sometime between the evening of Friday, April 29 and the morning of Monday, May 2, an incident occurred in which the “T” of the “GT” installation on the Savannah campus was forcibly removed and stolen from the side of the EDRB building. Campus authorities are currently in the process of tracking down those responsible. While Captain Anthony Whitmire reports having no leads in the investigation as of yet the “T” itself has since been returned---but not before the culprits could introduce another layer to the case.
“Early Monday morning [May 2] the Student Services office was delivered a list of clues that suggested it would lead to the whereabouts of the ‘T’,” said Anthony Whitmire, Captain of the Georgia Tech Police Department.
The cryptic list of clues incorporated math equations that, once solved, indicated room numbers in which other clues would be found, ultimately leading to the missing “T”. The riddles were both self-effacing---with one line referring to a device “that a stupid engineer made”---and playfully taunting, as it insisted on how the scavenger hunt was “open notes” and “open book”. The message was signed at the bottom by “The ’09 Thief”.
“Maybe we didn’t read the clues right, or the game was set up wrong, but the search was fruitless and we came up empty-handed,” Captain Whitmire recalled. “The ‘T’ was, however, returned Friday morning---it was cabled to a light post at the corner of Crossroads Parkway and Technology Circle”.
This particular “T” theft marks the first of these incidents to ever occur in Georgia Tech Savannah’s history---and the administration is reacting with a mixture of reluctant benevolence and by-the-book punishment.
“From a law standpoint, they can be prosecuted at the very least for criminal trespassing and, at most, criminal damage,” said Captain Whitmire. “And then there’s the matter of hooking the ‘T’ back up again and possible damage to the fluorescent bulbs. This could become very expensive for the school”.
The reaction so far seems to accurately reflect the fickle relationship between the storied tradition of stealing the “T” and the university’s obligation to impose appropriate repercussions. Whereas John Patrick Crecine, President of Georgia Tech from 1987-1997, deemed the stealing of the “T” to be “among the all-time greatest rituals”, the university’s official stance towards the act is one of unmitigated condemnation.
“Obviously, it’s a longtime tradition of Georgia Tech to take the ‘T’,” said Captain Whitmire. “And we’re thinking it’s either alumni or a couple of seniors who pulled this off in the name of that tradition. Either way, we just cannot condone that kind of behavior”.
By far, the most singular issue with the peculiar “T” tradition has always been one of student safety. The vertical dangers of Georgia Tech Savannah may pale in comparison to the 130-foot Tech Tower in Atlanta, but the 40-foot ladders and mechanical lifts implemented by the facilities team at Georgia Tech Savannah should indicate the serious injury one could receive in attempting such a prank.
And according to Captain Whitmire: “Some would say ‘no harm, no foul,’ but the investigation is still very much open”.