DANIEL SMITH/THE HOYA Georgetown campus police are investigating after the Healy Tower clock hands were stolen early Monday morning.
Georgetown campus police are investigating after the Healy Tower clock hands were stolen early Monday morning.

At least two students have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct after the clock hands were stolen from the clock tower of Healy Hall early Monday morning and replaced with an inflatable unicorn head, according to the Georgetown University Police Department.

GUPD Chief Jay Gruber did not immediately confirm how the suspects were apprehended,  but said the department uses all tools at its disposal, including fingerprinting evidence, when identifying suspects in crime investigations. According to a conversation between GUPD officers, the department examined the inflatable unicorn head for fingerprints.

The theft, first reported by students on social media Monday morning, marks the last day of the spring 2017 semester, as well as the latest iteration in a long-standing Georgetown tradition last honored December 2014. According to lore, the history of the heist goes back decades at least. The clock hands were stolen so frequently in the 1960s, it is said, the university stopped replacing them.

The clock hands were returned to the tower by Monday afternoon, as the missing pair was initially replaced with a spare set, according to a GUPD officer. GUPD announced Tuesday afternoon it had recovered the stolen clock hands and identified suspects in the theft.

“The GUPD investigation has resulted in the return of the clock hands and the identification of the students responsible, who will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct,” Gruber wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This is a serious matter that puts those involved in danger and destroys university property. I would like to thank the GUPD officers involved in the investigation and the other University officials who helped bring this matter to a close.”

The administration has responded to the tradition at different times with consternation, acceptance or tacit veneration. After the last incident in 2014, the university responded to the theft by posting a photo of the clock tower with the hashtag #TimelessTradition on social media.

However, the administration has taken a harder line in the past, once sentencing a pair of students to community service and a year of disciplinary probation after they accepted blame for removing the hands.

This is a developing story. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.


  1. Joe Hoya says:

    Oh, please. Fingerprints? Why on earth would two students have fingerprints in a database? Perhaps there’s a camera up there in the clocktower? That seems like a much more reasonable explanation.

  2. God forbid the student body be allowed to have some fun occasionally. If the university ever bothered to open up the spire to students, even for short periods of time, I’d imagine the desire to break into the spire and steal the clock hands would be lessened significantly.

    • Fun? so according to you $25,000 worth of damage is just harmless “fun”?

      “Andrew Hamblen (SFS ’07) and Wyatt Gjullin (COL ’09), who stole the hands in 2005, and confessed. The estimated damage from that incident totalled $25,000.”

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