Theft of Boxer III raises questions of school spirit

Hannah Kendall, Editor-in-Chief

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to CPS officer Stephen Shores as “Steven Shores”. A correction has been made for the article below. We apologize for the error.

Unscrew the back. Lift the case. Drop it. Grab the Boxer. Run.

Nothing about the morning of Jan. 17 appeared unusual to Tim Cathy Tran librarian Jennifer Bosvert. Until she heard the power drill. When she saw two individuals power drilling the case of Boxer III, she knew she had to act quickly. Running out from behind the front desk, she yelled at the thieves to stop. But before Bosvert reached Boxer III’s pedestal, the thieves disappeared, taking with them the 40 lb symbol of Boxer spirit. Within a matter of seconds, Boxer III was gone. 

Earlier this month, two students stole Boxer III. Within hours of its disappearance, Pacific emailed the student body requesting its return. The school threatened felony charges if it was not returned by noon the next day. Shortly after the email, the statue was returned. According to CPS officer Stephen Shores, Boxer is being stored in a safe location. It will return to its home in the library when security is improved. 

The Pacific Index interviewed the students involved in the theft of Boxer III. However, to bring attention to the tradition of Boxer and to avoid glorifying the students involved, the Index has chosen not to name the individuals. Instead, they will be referred to as the “Boxer Bandits.”

Moments after the theft, Bosvert discovered a note left by the bandits scrawled in purple crayon. It explained Boxer’s fate: “It is with great reverence and respect that we have made this attempt to breathe new life into the tradition of the Boxer. Let it be clear that our intentions are in alignment with the spirit of the Boxer.” Boxer III, the note said, would remain in the Pacific community and there would be no reason to declare Boxer missing. 

According to Shores, Boxer III is valued at $24,000. Stealing artwork as valuable as Boxer III is considered “an aggravated felonious theft.” In the university’s email to students, the school threatened to turn over security footage of the incident to the police “as well as footage of the same individuals in the library.” 

Though no felony charges were filed, at the time this article was written, the Boxer Bandits are waiting for a meeting with the Student Conduct Board. According to the bandits, damages must be totaled before they meet with the board. 

But the heist of Boxer III confronts the campus with a few questions: How far will students go to reinvigorate Boxer’s tradition? And what will become of students who try to resurrect that tradition? 

Senior Shelby Cokely sees the theft as a light-hearted way to bring the spirit of Boxer back to campus. She hopes that no serious repercussions are enforced on the bandits. “As a student, I thought the disappearance of Boxer was a funny, light hearted prank,” she said. “I don’t think anyone was aware of what the statue cost.” 

According to Pacific’s webpage on the mascot, the original statue went missing in 1969 after a Boxer-Toss where student groups battled for possession. In the 1980s, Boxer II experienced a similar fate. With the Boxer’s history of pranks and disappearances, it’s surprising that the extent of Boxer III’s security was two screws and a plexiglas case. Pacific’s website claims “Boxer Spirit Endures.”