Lost and found?

March 18th, 2010

On Feb. 17 Kyle Shepard, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, received an e-mail from someone who signed the message as “Kim Meadows.” In the e-mail Meadows asked if Shepard would be interested in a copy of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity manual.

“I got an e-mail early Wednesday morning about Beta Theta Pi’s [fraternity manual],” said Shepard.

As a fellow fraternity member, Shepard knew the significance of a book like that ending up with someone other than the rightful owners. Shepard planned to see Beta president Andy Lane later that day, so he responded to Meadows and said he would be interested in getting the book in order to return it to Lane.

Meadows answered Shepard’s request with an e-mail that read, “that depends. How much is it worth to you?” By the time Shepard read the response he had already spoken with Lane.

To Shepard’s knowledge, Lane was unaware that the book was missing. “Andy thanked me for bringing it to his attention,” said Shepard.

Lane then informed Nick Orlando, ritual chair for the fraternity. Orlando is responsible for keeping the books so he was able to verify that one book was missing. According to Orlando the book was misplaced because of miscommunication. He thought someone else had the book, and they thought he had it.

Orlando then learned of the Kim Meadows e-mails and took matters into his own hands. He had Shepard send him a copy of the e-mails. He then recognized that the IP address from the original e-mail indicated that it was sent from a computer located on campus. He took it to Information Technology Services to trace which computer in particular it came from.

In addition to the IP address, the MAC address contained in the header of the e-mail sent from Meadows was used to pinpoint that the e-mail was sent from the computer located in the CSS guardhouse at the entrance to the Belvoir Lot. Orlando then contacted CSS to file an official complaint.

A few days later the book was returned to the fraternity, but Peppard had no response as to who was responsible for the e-mails. “The ingredient that’s missing is the person who sent the e-mail,” said Peppard.

CSS contacted the e-mail address about the book. According to Peppard there is no way to verify who returned it, but it was brought back to the CSS lost and found.

CSS has talked to Shepard and Orlando, but has yet to interview the person who sent the e-mail. When asked why they didn’t talk to the person when he/she dropped the book off, Peppard said there was miscommunication between those conducting the investigation and the lost and found.

“We should have said if somebody drops something off, then we want to talk to them. In the mix of things, that didn’t happen.”

According to Peppard, the CSS officer on duty let someone send an e-mail from the guardhouse computer.

According to Peppard, “[the officer] knew the person in passing.” The officer let them use the computer and that’s when the e-mail was sent. “The employee told me, ‘Yes, I let someone send an e-mail,’” said Peppard

“Do I object to letting people in the guardhouse? I don’t have a lot of choice, but do I think we should let someone send an e-mail? No.”

The subsequent e-mails sent by CSS to the suspect have not been answered. It remains an ongoing investigation.