Case of the Missing Toaster

toaster.jpgSpecifically, the Black & Decker TRO200 Toaster Oven, a classic of the genre. (Toaster not exactly as shown).

The Crime

Roughly 50 days ago I donated the above-mentioned toaster oven (in well-used condition, a personal family heirloom) to the Emily Carr Institute student body. I did this unannounced and of my own accord by placing it atop the general-use microwaves secured to a counter along the east wall of the institute’s cafeteria dining area. Its presence there implied its function: anyone could use it for making toast or warming up sandwiches, etc. as long–of course–as it remained there.
I did not remove the Toaster from this location but at some point near the middle of March, as a number of us first-years sat down with our butter, jams, and teas to enjoy a frequent and impromptu evening Toast Party, there was an extra outlet available and a void atop the microwaves (and in our hearts) where the Toaster was but a couple days prior (by some people’s reckoning).
Who took the toaster, and more importantly, why?

Suspects

Who would benefit from taking the Toaster?
Cafeteria
Motive: money/spite.
Privately owned, the cafeteria may create more business for itself by introducing disincentives and barriers to a student’s desire and ability to bring and enjoy his/her own food, specifically toaster-ready foodstuffs. A staff member (of his/her own accord, or instructed to do so) or the owner(s) of the cafeteria may be suspect.
Individual Student
Motive: toast/spite.
An individual student would benefit from having the Toaster in his/her own home in order to better enjoy toast and avoid purchasing a toaster.
Student Group
Motive: toast.
A student group, such as a department lounge, may have been too cheap and immoral to buy their own toaster.
Faculty / Staff
Motive: toast.
A faculty member (instructor, administrator, facilities person) may have wanted toast for his/her respective lounge area, or personal use.
Staff
Motive: safety/red tape/other
A staff member may have removed, rather than stole, the Toaster for safety and/or policy reasons (food health, unapproved appliance).
Outside Culprit
Someone from outside the school stole it because it was not screwed down.

Investigation

The first stage of my investigation will be to conduct a search of the immediate area (the cafeteria) followed by a search among related food areas throughout the campus, such as the Design and Photography lounges and the Faculty/Staff Lounge.
Should the Toaster not appear during the search, Stage 2 of the investigation will involve questioning Suspects whether they were aware of the Toaster’s existence, have seen the Toaster recently, can recall the last time they saw it or may know of its current whereabouts. Witnesses and frequent users of both the cafeteria and the Toaster itself could also be questioned.

Related: