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Ballroom Dance Club Loses Stereo, Cash Box

By George Ipe
Staff Reporter

Rose M. Needham, a Campus Activities Complex assistant manager working the night shift at Walker Memorial, was cleaning up after a late-night party last weekend when she noticed that a usually closed cabinet in a storage room was wide open and littered with wires, stray electrical equipment, and odds and ends.

At noon last Sunday, Waldemar P. Horwat G, the president of the Ballroom Dancing Club, went to Walker to set up the club's stereo system for a dance session when he found the cabinet containing the equipment forced open and much of the club's property missing. Horwat immediately called the Campus Police, who sent over an officer to investigate.

"Among the things missing," said Wilson Tsang G, the workshop manager of the BDC, "were our main stereo system, a wireless microphone, a UHF infrared converter, a cashbox with about $40, 30 ballroom music CDs and 50 cassette tapes that will be very hard to replace. The losses total about $2,000." He said, "Though we can survive for the present with a portable music system, the most damaging part of the theft is the loss of our CDs and tapes. We'd have to pay through our nose to buy the music the club had accumulated over the years."

Horwat bemoaned the loss of the music, saying that it would take years to replace, and that much of it is out of print.

The BDC, founded nearly 20 years ago, offers three levels of instruction in dances such as fox-trot, swing, bolero, and the samba. Over the years, its members had entered dance competitions and some had even become national champions. Horwat said, "The weekly dance sessions will still continue throughout this semester despite the theft."

"We will be trying to rebuild the club's equipment gradually. For now, we are borrowing music tapes from club members for the dance workshops. Though the sound system will be lousy for a time, we are planning to buy a new stereo system eventually," Horwat said.

After an officer's meeting at the BDC yesterday, Horwat announced that the club would offer a reward for any returned equipment and music. Ted E. Johnson, program coordinator of the Campus Activities Complex, said, "The BDC might be able to get a $1,000 deductible from the MIT insurance policy on total losses from the theft. But this depends on the particulars of the insurance policy and the current value of the stolen items."

Needham, who is in charge of late night events held at Walker, noticed the storage room and cabinet open during her rounds there at 1:30 a.m. Saturday. She said, "It looked strange -- with all the stuff lying on the floor by the cabinet, I thought some students were careless. I didn't know who the stuff belonged to, so I locked the cabinet, not realizing that something was stolen." She added, "Walker is a funny building. It's very easy to get into at all hours of the night, and I can't go check on everyone."