Cats Burgled During Training Trip In Hawaii (Women’s Swimming)

Chris Gentilviso

By Chris GentilvisoThe Daily Northwestern

On the second day of its training trip to Hawaii, the Northwestern women’s swimming team parked its cars and headed to breakfast.

But when they returned to the parking lot, all was not in order.

Several swimmers found the front door of one of the team vans entirely removed – their bags ransacked. NU Coach Jimmy Tierney said the total loss in personal items and cash was estimated at $3,000.

Freshman Rachel Rys and sophomores Sara White-Delehoy and team manager Rotem Peled suffered the greatest individual losses – personal identification cards, passports, credit cards, clothing, jewelry and hundreds of dollars in cash.

“When we came back, (junior Jessie Bailis) opened the car door and everything was out of the bags,” Peled said. “It was Hawaii, and you wouldn’t think something like this would happen.”

According to The Honolulu Advertiser, the suspect, a 29-year-old Makakilo native, was apprehended two days later after crashing a stolen pickup truck. She was charged with auto theft, driving without a license and unauthorized possession of confidential personal information.

That confidential personal information included Rys, White-Delehoy and Peled’s WildCARDs, as well as a team folder filled with both student and parent insurance information – including social security numbers.

Rys said the losses are still affecting her. She was locked out of her dorm room for the first two days of winter quarter, awaiting a new set of keys. She also said $200 was stolen out of her personal account.

“We first thought they were just after hard cash,” Rys said. “It turned out that there was much more that she wanted.”

If the suspect pleads not guilty, the three swimmers will return to Hawaii in two to three months to testify. Tierney said the district attorney noted the possibility of that occurring as highly unlikely.

As an international student, with dual citizenship between Israel and the United States, the loss of Peled’s passport made matters even more difficult. Coach Jimmy Tierney accompanied Peled to file for a new document.

“It would’ve been different if it was team property,” Tierney said. “But this was invaluable items like passports and licenses. It was difficult to settle them down, but once they got into the Hawaii race, they dealt with it fine.”

For now, NU (1-4) has moved on and is focused on Saturday’s meet with No. 16 Tennessee.

“Everyone was really supportive,” White-Delehoy said. “Whether it was cell phones, cash or cameras, people pitched in all the way around. And whenever we were a bit tired, it of course provided a good laugh.”

Reach Chris Gentilviso at [email protected]