Celebrating 110 years of Student Journalism

Bell Heists : A History

STEVEN REIDELL ’20 | STAFF WRITER • In honor of the upcoming Monon

Bell game and in the spirit of this year’s attempt to swipe the Bell, The Bachelor will reflect on the previous attempts by Wallies and Dannies alike to steal the bell. Ever since the Monon Bell was introduced in 1932, 15 documented attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, have occurred.

1953: DePauw steals the Monon Bell for the first time from Wabash.

1959: Wabash steals the Monon Bell for the first time from DePauw.

1965: The infamous Operation Frijoles occurs. Jim Shanks ’67 scheduled a meeting with former President of DePauw, William H. Kerstetter, to discuss bringing “students from Mexico” to DePauw. In order to seal the deal, Shanks asked to take photos of various areas of the campus to show to the prospective students. Shanks asked to photograph the Bell which the Dean of the College was reluctant to show it. “The last time I showed someone the Bell he stole it,” Kerstetter said with a laugh. With the notes provided by Shanks, he and a group of Wabash students returned to DePauw and stole the Bell.

1966: Paranoid DePauw students steal the Bell from themselves and bury it under the end zone of Blackstock Stadium. The plan backfired as the ground froze and the students nearly failed to dig the Bell back up before the game.

1966: A group of Wabash students follow the truck carrying the Bell back to Greencastle. They disguise themselves as DePauw students and steal the Bell back during the post-game pep rally.

1972: A group of Independents steal the Bell from a group of lazy Bell guardians in order to tarnish the reputation of the Sphinx Club.

1973: DePauw students from the SAE fraternity at DePauw steal the Bell only to find their house surrounded by angry Wabash students. It takes a series of meetings to organize a returning of the Bell to deescalate the situation.

1980: Ready to be confused? Rose-Hulman, who was a member of the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference (ICAC), was a men’s-only institution until 1991. In order to gain their own version of the Monon Bell game, a group of Rose-Hulman students stole the Bell from Wabash to try to gain traction for a formal rivalry game.

1988: Wabash steals the Bell from DePauw by hiding in the gym where the Bell was stored after hours and successfully returned it to Crawfordsville.

1998: Wabash steals the Bell on Halloween. This was the last successful Bell heist.

2000: Four Wabash Sophomores trigger an alarm installed after the 1998 heist and are arrested in a failed attempt to steal the Bell.

2012: DePauw students attempt to steal the Bell which was guarded by a group of sleeping Sigma Chi pledges. The Bell rang during the attempt, which awoke the sleeping pledges, causing a fight to break out. Crawfordsville police were called to break up the fight.

2017: The most recent attempt to steal the Bell. Three Wabash students unsuccessfully attempt to steal the Bell by triggering a pressure sensor. They were caught wearing white paint suits and Obama and Trump masks.