Cash box stolen at IWU’s 12th Annual Charity Drag Show

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

 

The 12th Annual Charity Drag Show, hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University’s Pride, was going as planned until the cash box for the event was stolen at approximately 9:00 p.m.

“Rainie Tezak (an IWU junior and Pride member) and I were taking donations and exchanging tip money for the event,” said sophomore Pride member Donald Brown. “We covered the cash box so that as we turned around to watch the show it would not be in plain sight.”

“But when the both of us went up to tip a performer, Rainie turned around and noticed the box was missing,” Brown said.

“We realized the box was stolen a little before intermission,” said junior Pride member and Drag Show performer Casey Williams. “I was just about to go on stage for my performance when I was told about it.”

Money from donations, as well as tip money and money from t-shirt sales was kept in the cash box. All of the proceeds from the donations at the event were to be donated to Prairie Pride Coalition, a non-profit organization in Bloomington, Il. that strives to spread awareness and host events for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I would say somewhere between $700 and $1,200 was in the cash box when it was stolen,” said sophomore president of Pride, Paige Buschman. “The chairs were all filled – there were over 200 people there when the performances started. I had to bring out more chairs and there were still people standing.”

With a $5 suggested donation at the entrance as well as money generated during the first portion of the show, an estimation of $1,200 may even fall short of the actual amount that was stolen.

After searching for the cash box, Buschman called campus security.

“We got there at about 9:10 and looked all over Hansen for the cash box,” said Senior Security Officer George Guminski.

Shortly after Security was contacted, Buschman also called the Bloomington Police Department.

“A report was filed. We hope that we can get some answers, but we are not counting on it,” Williams said.

“It hurts more because I feel like whoever took the cash box was stealing from the community,” Buschman said. “That was supposed to go to charity, and that’s the part that is super upsetting.”

Though the theft put a damper on the evening, the night was still successful.

“We raised about $675 just in tips during the second half of the show. Since we had borrowed $300 from ORL to give out as tips, we will end up giving about $300 to PPC,” Buschman said.

In response to the theft at the Drag Show, members of the community have reached out to Buschman and offered donations.

“We are so thankful to those who have sent us donations,” Buschman said. “If anyone would like to donate, please contact me at [email protected]. Checks are payable to Illinois Wesleyan Pride Alliance.”

“I don’t want [the theft] to entirely overshadow that the show was tremendously successful, and met its goals of helping to broaden the exposure of students, faculty, staff and community to the tradition of drag performance and a fundamental aspect of LGBTQ+ culture and history,” said Pride advisor Matthew Damschroder. “The actions of an individual don’t diminish the good work that Pride was able to accomplish.”

If anyone has information or details about the theft of the cash box at the Drag Show, please contact campus Security at (309) 556-1111 or the Bloomington Police Department at (309) 434-2700.