You’re right. In these types of situations, it’s often much too easy to malign the other person. I’ve also been in situations where I’ve picked up a random student’s ID or their phones, only to realize it’s not mine. However, I do think what makes this case different from others is that, as you’ve mentioned, it’s characteristic of either poor judgement or malicious intent. I can’t claim to know exactly which one it was, or what was going through the person’s head at the time, I can only present the facts and as I saw them and my reactions to them.
I actually spoke to multiple mentors before I decided to proceed with the report to the Yale Graduate School and update the police. They informed me that a fact finder would be appointed to collect statements and gather details about the case before any official judgement. The case at this point is out of my hands and up to Yale to determine whether or not to proceed. I think that this is more fair, as I may not know all the facts myself, and an objective fact finder should be able to determine what happened in greater detail to either clear the person’s name or render any judgement. It is for this reason that I also did not publish their name publicly.
To your point about the person in question being a Yale graduate student, theft at Yale is actually quite common. The night after I posted this, a friend messaged me about his suitemate’s laptop stolen from his common room in a dorm which only Yalies have the swipe access to. Later that evening, in a presumably separate incident, two of my friends were held at gunpoint in their room while their electronics were stolen. I’ve heard friends say they’ve left their bikes in the residential college courtyards, which again only Yale students have access to, only to find them gone an hour later. Since making this post, people have messaged me saying someone stole their laptop from the Yale library as they left to use the restroom or grab a coffee. My point is that while Yale has a shining reputation as a college and clear risks for theft, there are definitely Yalies that commit opportunistic crimes. In reporting this incident, I wanted to make sure that in the chance that it was malicious, that this type of incident either wouldn’t happen again, or would be much more risky for the person involved if there was already a note on their record.
Thank you for your comment. I do appreciate the insight and the different perspective. It definitely helps me recognize that my own opinion may have introduced more bias than I intended.