Recently, a few members of the Lutrinae team traveled up to San Francisco for the Associated College Press (ACP) and California College Media Association (CCMA) journalism conference.
While the trip had a nice (but rainy) start, things turned for the worse on the last day of the conference, just 30 minutes before the CCMA award ceremony. Upon returning to our rented van to drop off my backpack, we realized the car had been broken into and a large number of our belongings had been stolen.
The ACP conference took place in the Hyatt Regency from March 9 -11 and the hotel was sold out. The attending Lutrinae team members stayed at a Hilton a few blocks away. With hotel check out at 11 a.m. and an award ceremony at 5 p.m., we had no option but to keep our bags in the car.
Knowing that San Francisco has a high crime rate — especially with car break-ins — we knew better than to park roadside. We chose to park the car in a lot with security for $40.
Unfortunately, this was of no assistance to us.
After a delicious lunch, we returned to the car to drop off my backpack. We opened the trunk of the van, and immediately something was off. Our faculty advisor, Dave Kellogg, pointed to a side window, which had been smashed and our hearts sank, realizing what had happened.
My duffel bag was gone, which I had lovingly overpacked for the trip with nice clothing options, brand new Lululemon leggings, one of my favorite hoodies and all of my nice makeup.
Kellogg’s laptop and iPad were taken along with his duffel bag of clothes, which held a Lutrinae faculty advisor T-shirt Haley Graham and I had hand-made for him.
Graham, the Lutrinae’s production manager, and webmaster, opened the door only to discover her backpack was stolen, which she had tucked under a seat to keep out of sight.
What was inside the backpack? Her iPad Pro with all of the Procreate files for her communication design capstone project which had not been backed up.
Between talking with police and security, Kellogg was trying to figure out a new plan to get us back home and I had to break the news to the two who weren’t with us that the van had been broken into, unsure at the time if their stuff was stolen (it wasn’t).
Graham and I also knew the Lutrinae had won something and were afraid of our awards getting lost if we didn’t make it to the ceremony, like they had been last year.
Depressed and determined not to let our awards be lost, Graham and I went to the award ceremony almost an hour late. While we attended the ceremony, Kellogg figured out arrangements for a new rental van and staff writers Max Guerrera, Andrea Valadez and Oscar Jimenez Iniguez stayed at the car.
Unsure of how quickly we would get a new van and if we would need to leave early, we frantically explained the situation to a staff member running awards out to people and gave him our address so the prizes could be mailed to us in case we had to leave early.
As a small victory, we were able to stay for the remainder of the ceremony and collect our awards. After the ceremony, we returned to the van, got a tow truck and a couple of Ubers to take us to the San Francisco airport to get a new rental van, and finally returned home to Monterey shortly before midnight.