Anyone could misplace one refrigerator, or even two or three if they were counter size. But it takes a professional to lose 200, and Harvard Student Agencies (HSA) officials revealed last week that they had done just that.
Several weeks ago the HSA refrigerator agency hired an assistant manager as a "refrigerator detective," but so far neither he nor anyone else in the agency has been able to figure out what happened to the missing ice boxes, which account for one-third of HSA's ostensible inventory.
Agency officials hoped that they would find the refrigerators when they conducted a room search through undergraduate dormitories. But after searching "most of the River Houses and about half of the Yard (dormitories)," Clarence Martin '77-3, manager of the refrigerator agency, said last week employees had found only 49 units.
Now it appears that HSA will never finish its room search.
Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, said yesterday that he and other officials had ordered HSA to stop its search. Epps said he was "anxious to preserve the privacy of students' rooms," and that college officials will now undertake a general review of circumstances under which rooms may be entered.
Epps's involvement stemmed from complaints from students--at least two of whom had their privately-owned refrigerators tagged for repossession the day before Thanksgiving, and feared they would return from the holiday to find an empty space with butter melting on their floor--and from Currier House staff.
Even without completing their room search, however, HSA officials say they can probably eliminate students' rooms as a solution to the case of the rambling 'fridges.
Martin said on Monday he could "only assume" that some form of wholesale theft was involved. The manager cautioned yesterday, however, that HSA officials have come to no decision on how to proceed and have not yet notified University police.
Epps said he has asked the general manager of HSA, Daniel Del Vecchio, to investigate what Epps called the "odd disappearance" of an "extraordinary number" of refrigerators.
Del Vecchio would say only that he was "still looking at alternatives."
If HSA does not recover the refrigerators, the loss would be an expensive one. New refrigerators cost more that $100, and 150 times $100 come to $15,000. HSA bought theft insurance for its warehouse this year--but it did so at least several weeks after the theft would have had to occur.