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High-priced Les Miserables costumes stolen

By Audrey DeAnda
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 23, 1999
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Due to a reporting error, yesterday's article "High-priced Les Miserables costumes stolen" incorrectly stated the dates that costumes vanished. The articles of clothing were stolen March 12 and 13. The Wildcat regrets the error.

More than $30,000 worth of Les Miserables costumes vanished from Centennial Hall this weekend, four months after costly garments from the musical Rent disappeared from the campus venue.

About 30 custom-made, European costumes for the Les Miserables production worth about $1,000 -$1,500 each were reported stolen to University of Arizona Police.

UAPD reports stated that the Les Miserables wardrobe crew arrived at about 8:30 a.m. Friday to prepare for the afternoon matinee. When the crew laid out costumes at 1 p.m., they realized some were missing.

The production has since moved to College Station, Texas and will open at Texas A&M University tomorrow. Members of the crew were unavailable for comment yesterday.

"It's very odd that someone would take just costumes when there is thousands of dollars worth of equipment you could roll out just as easily," said Edward Brown, UA Presents' director of operations. "It's obviously a person who loves theater."

Friday's incident is not the first time robbers have struck a Broadway musical at Centennial Hall.

During the production of Rent in late November, $2,000 worth of costumes were stolen.

"We thought Rent was an isolated incident because of all the hype, but now we're seeing a pattern," Brown said.

UAPD Cmdr. Brian Seastone said police did not make any arrests in the Rent incident, and police have no suspects for either robbery. Officers are following up on some investigative leads, he said.

During Rent, the costumes were confined to a locked dressing room, Brown said. But an overwhelming amount of outfits led Les Miserables organizers to spread them along back hallways inside Centennial Hall.

"Two different keys are needed to get into those two areas," he said.

He said Centennial Hall does not have any security besides door locks, but officials will now add new protective features. Brown declined to elaborate on the additional safety measures.

In both cases, the building was secure when the crew arrived the next day, Brown said.

"But this building hasn't been re-keyed in 15 years, so there are a lot of keys floating around out there," he said.

Tucson is already struggling to attract big shows and people should realize that these thefts are detrimental to the city's status, he said.

"It's not helping with a business that is based on reputation," Brown said.