Stealing from a theater is like stealing from the poor box in a church. There is especially bad Karma associated with it.
BAT rents storage space from the Highline School District. To keep things from going from bad to worse, BAT is not disclosing the location of that storage space here.
On November 10, 2013, as part of a production meeting for “Noises Off!” opening in February 2014, we went to the storage space to check inventory. Whatever BAT has that it can reuse it reuses, within the needs of the show. “Noises Off!” will be the biggest build for a show in BAT’s 34 year history, so whatever can be reused is good.
When I put the key in the door to the storage space, it did not feel right. When I checked, the door handle was gone. Vanished. Pulling the door open I found the whole inside mechanism, a punch lever door handle (like in the photo) was also completely gone. Not just broken, but gone. This was no small thing. The door lock and push lever were removed completely. Unscrewed from the door. (The thieves even swept up after themselves, leaving no debris behind.)
The outside door of the storage space opens onto a hallway with BAT’s storage rooms off the hallway. One of the two doors off the hallway had been tampered with, but it did not appear as though the thieves got in the room.
BAT contacted the Highline School District’s crack security team. They asked us to stay at the scene and call the police to report the event. I let the designers go and waited. It took a while, but security showed up and took a report, then called the school district’s locksmith.
The security officer did not have a charge in his camera and had to go back to his office to get another camera. He asked me to wait for the locksmith, which I did. When the locksmith got there he told me that he had not been warned I would be there and when he first saw me he snuck away, called the security guard and told him the thief was there and he could catch me in-the-act. Then, he was told it was just me waiting.
The locksmith who came to secure the outside door said the the lock and door mechanism that was gone had been all brass and it could very well have been that the thieves were after the metal as scrap which is now fairly valuable. Somehow this made me feel better than thinking BAT’s props were the target.
I had called the police but due to a prior commitment I could not wait for the police officer who, I was told, was on an emergency call. Certainly, at this point with the security guard on scene and the locksmith working on securing the door, BAT’s problems were far from an emergency.
When I first called to report the break-in the dispatcher said to just call back when I could (24-hours-a-day) and an officer would take the report over the phone. By the time I was back from my prior engagement is was 11 pm. I called the police, however, I was told to go to the site and wait for between 10 minutes and 2 hours, for an officer to show up. The dispatcher added that if another emergency came up I could be waiting much longer than “just” 2 hours.
I did not know if I could even get into BAT’s storage space without a new key. It was cold dark and trying hard to rain. So, I explained this and asked if the officer could call me and I would meet him or her once I knew the officer was on the way. Although I wanted to be a good citizen, the thought of standing in the cold, almost rain, by myself in the wee hours of the morning at the site of break-in didn’t sound that appealing to me. After some hesitation, I was told yes it was possible to wait at my house for the call.
When the officer called, about an hour later, he said he could just take the information over the phone, which he did. There was no reason to go to the site of the break-in. The security guard had pictures and could fill the police officer in.
I tried to sell a few tickets to “Coney Island Christmas” to everyone I met in this process, but something just tells me none of them will come to the show.