Whataburglar: Seniors’ laptops stolen after Episcopal game


Lilah Gaber

After breaking three car windows, the thief took four laptops but left the seniors’ backpacks behind.

“Some people’s cars–” were the only three words needed to send 30 students running out of the Whataburger on Westheimer on Friday, Oct. 5.

Seniors Anna-William Kornberg, Malcolm Sturgis and Hatley Post soon discovered that someone had broken into their cars.

The three seniors had parked behind the restaurant after the football game against Episcopal Friday night. Sometime between Sturgis’ arrival at around 9:50 and when the police were first called at 10:09, someone smashed the seniors’ windows open and stole laptops, including that of senior Manar Ansari, who rode with Post.

Kornberg left the Whataburger at around 10:05 when she noticed a pile of stuff stashed under someone’s car, which she noted as strange, but it didn’t register that one of the bags in the pile belonged to her.

“My initial reaction was like, ‘What happened? Where is my backpack? Where are all of my notes?’” Kornberg said. “I was mostly worried about all of my college essays that were missing.”

In the midst of all of the confusion, someone pointed out that the bags Kornberg noticed before were the missing backpacks. Kornberg was relieved to be reunited with her bag and immediately knelt down to check that her college folder, lab manual and organic chemistry notes were all there.

Though Kornberg described her state as “slightly hysterical,” she praised the methodical way with which other seniors handled the situation. Emerson Knapp helped clear people out of the area safely while Angela Whittle called the police. Meanwhile, Roman Lewis, Lauren Schwartz and Gray Watson looked for cameras that might have recorded the theft.

Sturgis was still in the Whataburger when Kornberg and Post discovered their shattered windows, but he sprinted out ahead of the crowd after being told his car was one of the three. Sturgis immediately called the police, and then he began going around and questioning people who had possibly witnessed part of the incident.

The three, along with some juniors and seniors who stayed behind, waited for the police to arrive. After about 45 minutes of waiting, another student called the police for the third time that night. The police arrived around 11:05 and helped the seniors document and record everything.

“It was nice that people stayed so it wasn’t just us standing in a dark lot, waiting for the cops,” Post said. “Everyone tried to help as best as they could.”

Sturgis and Kornberg both had to drive their cars home after finishing filing their reports with the police. Kornberg had a less-than-normal experience as she drove a friend back to his car at Taub lot.

“He was leaning forward hugging the dashboard trying not to get shards of glass on him,” Kornberg said. “It was pretty scary because I would be doing fine, but then I’d go over a bump and a bunch of glass would fall on the ground.”

For Kornberg and Post, this served as a learning experience in being more cautious of their surroundings.

“I have been in situations where I turn my backpack over or put it somewhere so it’s not as visible, and I just didn’t really think about it that night,” Kornberg said. “There were a lot of us there, though. There was this sense of safety in numbers. There is something to be said about us being taught that the real world is tough and people do steal stuff.”

Additional reporting by Manar Ansari