Harleston residents seek answers to repeated burglaries of laundry

The Harleston Hall laundry room, from which students have reported having their laundry stolen, is pictured on Oct. 22. Kiana Vallo / The Tufts Daily

Multiple residents of Harleston Hall have recently reported stolen laundry.

Sophomore Emma Mo said that her clothes were stolen in the first week of the semester. She had put them into the washing machine at around 9 p.m., and when she came back about an hour later, her clothes were gone. Initially, Mo assumed it was another student’s mistake.

“At first I thought somebody else took it by mistake … [or] put the laundry in [another] washing machine because they’re going to use that machine,” Mo said.

But soon enough Mo realized that this was no mistake.

“I checked every washing machine and drying machine but [there was] nothing,” Mo said. “I checked … many times but still nobody returned them.”

Mo tried to track down her clothes by reaching out into a Harleston group chat and by contacting her residential assistant.

“I sent out a message in the group chat of Harleston, but nobody replied so later I went to my RA, and she said if nobody replied by the end of the next day she [would] send out an email to everybody in Harleston,” Mo said. “On the next day she sent the email but still nobody replied.”

Mo said she does not expect to figure out what happened to her laundry. 

Sophomore Christopher Pellegrini encountered a similar issue. When doing his roommate’s laundry, he returned a day later to pick up the clothes and discovered that they were not there. In the past, Pellegrini said people would place laundry that hadn’t been removed from the dryer on a nearby table or on top of the washer, but this time was different.

“This time, everything was just completely gone,” Pellegrini said. “[It] never ever turned up.”

Pellegrini said he could not nail down a reason for the burglary.

“I’m not even sure why they would want his clothes either because there wasn’t anything crazy in there, just a bunch of underwear and T-shirts and towels,” he said.

Pellegrini hopes his roommate’s clothing gets returned.

“We’re just hoping that someone is going to come and just leave everything in one spot and this whole thing will be done with,” Pellegrini said.

In the meantime, however, Pellegrini’s roommate has been left with little to wear and little hope of getting what he lost back.

“My roommate, he’s fairly minimalist, he doesn’t wear many things, maybe four or five shirts and a couple pairs of pants, so he literally has no clothes,” Pellegrini said. “He’s been wearing my clothes for the past two or three weeks.”

Pellegrini said he thinks four or five other people have also had their laundry stolen.

“We started talking to more people and they said, ‘oh yeah, I got my laundry [stolen] … somebody takes all the nice stuff or whatnot,’” Pellegrini said.

Josh Hartman, senior director of the  Office of Residential Life and Learning, said that Residential Life had only known about one laundry burglary.

“Our office [has] been informed about one student who lost a load of laundry in Harleston back in September,” Hartman wrote in an email. “The student connected with their RA who sent messaging out to the community and the RA referred the student to TUPD.”

Residential Life also outlined in its email its response to burglaries on campus.

“All students are encouraged to contact TUPD to file a report,” Hartman said. “In cases of things within a residence hall, ORLL will often send out a notice to the community asking for the lost items to be returned, but we mostly encourage students to follow the TUPD investigative process.”  

Pellegrini said he and his roommate decided not to file a report. He looks forward to the day when the issue is resolved.

“We can file a report, we can do something, but what good is that going to do?” he said. “That’s not going to get your clothes back … I’m just waiting for the day when I see someone wearing [my roommate’s] shirts.”