Last week, Cameron Crazies everywhere watched with horror as the men's basketball team lost to Syracuse in overtime.
The owner of a local hardware store, however, saw something else upsetting on the broadcast during a shot of Krzyzewskiville—his missing pallets.
Every year, students camp out in K-Ville, braving the elements and below-freezing temperatures, for a chance to gain entry to the annual men's basketball game against University of North Carolina. And, every year, the students use wooden pallets to keep their tents off the ground.
“It's always a mad dash to obtain pallets,” wrote Steve Hassey, a senior and one of the two head Line Monitors, in an email. “But this is the first time, at least in my time as a Line Monitor, that I have heard of any stolen pallets.”
According to Hassey, tenters have used leftover wooden pallets—which are meant to be single-use—from stores like Home Depot and Ace Hardware in the past.
But this year, some tenters took plastic pallets that were earmarked to be shipped back to Ace’s warehouses.
“For each missing pallet and each day that the owner did not return his shipment, Ace Hardware charged him a sizable fee,” Hassey said.
According to Hassey, it went unnoticed at Duke until a store owner saw his pallets on television while watching the Syracuse basketball game and alerted campus police. Duke Student Government worked with David Pittman, senior director of student life, and Nicole Jones, director of marketing and promotions for Duke Athletics, to track down the pallets.
“We gathered all on-shift tenters at the front of K-Ville, and we requested that they each check their tent’s pallets to ensure they weren’t from Ace Hardware,” Hassey wrote.
Because the pallets were returned quickly and safely, the store owner did not press charges, Hassey said.
"Within about 30 minutes, we were able to identify all 19 missing pallets," he wrote.
Correction: The headline was updated Tuesday afternoon with the word "taken" replacing "stolen." The Chronicle regrets the error.
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