Theft and vandalism shut down new “On-the-Spot” vending machines

By Aislinn Walsh
November 21, 2019

Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this article, the Founder’s Room 102 vending machine has reopened. 


Due to vandalism and theft, the refrigerated vending machines in South and Founder’s Hall 102 have been closed until further notice. 

Pictured above is the refrigerated vending machine on the first floor of the Founder’s Hall lobby. Typically, it is stocked with grab and go items. Photo by Jerry Zurek.

In an initial email sent by Dr. Steven Rupprecht, the dean of students, South Hall residents were informed of the theft and vandalism in the refrigerated “On-The-Spot” vending machines. Rupprecht said that the thefts began in early October.  The vandalism occurred in early November.

He noted two key incidents in which the theft and vandalism occurred. 

First, “someone figured out how to open the door to the On the Spot vending machine so they could take whatever they wanted and not get charged. That person shared this secret with others, and soon enough the machine was emptied.”  

Secondly, he stated that the vending machine was broken into. As a result, “multiple items were taken from the machine.”   

The South “On-The-Spot” vending machines were shut down.

Rupprecht urged students to come forward and confess if they had stolen food from the vending machine.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, a second email was sent out to faculty, staff and students alerting them of the vending machine theft and vandalism. This was the first time that the entire university received information about the vending machines. 

Rupprecht stated that an investigation had already been launched. Prior to the theft, cameras were placed near the vending machines. As part of the investigation, the camera footage is being reviewed.  However, the number of confessions received is “far less than who is actually seen on video and believed to be involved to varying degrees.”   

Rupprecht noted that “multiple student interviews that have revealed additional information and possibly a campus-wide theft and vandalism problem involving multiple vending machines across our campus and far more students than originally expected.”

Pictured above is the sign on the Founder’s Hall vending machine doors informing users of its closure. Photo by Jerry Zurek.

Recently, the Founder’s Hall Room 102 “On-The-Spot” vending machines have been shut down as a result of theft and vandalism.   According to Rupprecht, “the food was taken out to prevent any further theft until the door could be repaired.” 

A sign on the machine stated, “This Vending Machine has been repeatedly vandalized and has been the victim of repeated thefts. It will remain empty until the machine can be repaired, secured, and protected from further abuse. We apologize to those who used the machine correctly and honestly. Thank you for your understanding.”    

However, Room 102 vending machines are expected to open up again. Rupprecht noted that the part to replace the broken door is expected to arrive soon.

The cabinets in between the vending machines containing Starbucks products were also broken into.

At the time of this article, Sodexo was not permitted to comment.  

Over the summer, four refrigerated Sodexo “On the Spot” vending machines were installed on campus. Two were placed on the main floor of South Residence Hall,  while others were placed in a room adjacent to Cav’s Corner, on the lower level of Founder’s Hall. These vending machines contain pre-packaged foods, like sandwiches, salads, yogurts, and fruits.  

The payment method has been a point of frustration for students.  Students cannot use their meal plan or flex dollars at the vending machines.  They are only allowed to use cash, credit or Apple Pay, despite the fact that these vending machines sell foods from Sodexo.  

However, the vending machines are a very convenient option for students, especially if they want to grab a quick meal in between classes and they are short on time to grab food at the Cafeteria or Cru5h. 



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Aislinn Walsh

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