Stolen laundry cases have been a common occurrence for Western Michigan students living in the Valley dorms in 2017, and just five weeks into the fall semester, there has already been at least ten instances.
Campus police have been following evidence, such as the other white tube sock left behind in one dryer, to try and bring in a suspect, but lack of evidence kept them from bringing anyone in for questioning.
That is, until this morning: Finkaklink Shineneedle, local Kalamazoo laundry gnome, has stepped forward admitting to the theft of most if not all of the stolen laundry from Western’s campus.
Campus police were skeptical of Shineneedle at first because he never came up before in its investigation of the stolen laundry, but that skepticism was soon put to rest.
“To prove he was the culprit, he took off his red pointy hat and pulled out at least 50 receipts from Plato’s closet,” said WMU Campus police officer, Gloria Murphy. “When we discovered that these were from reselling the very clothes we were looking for, we knew we found our thief.”
Why would a laundry gnome, who usually sticks to stealing small clothing items such as a stray sock and underwear, begin stealing this much clothing if it goes against all that a laundry gnome stands for?
“It’s a tough time to be a laundry gnome,” Shineneedle said. “I used to be able to get by with stealing a sock here, a sock there, maybe a few undershirts.
“In 2017—that just doesn’t cut it anymore.”
Shineneedle explained that demand for socks among laundry gnomes has reached an all time low, resulting in thousands of laundry gnome families struggling to support themselves. Stealing expensive shirts, pants, and essentially whatever he could get his hands on was an act of desperation he took in order to keep his family from going under, Shineneedle said.
“I was up every single night figuring out how I could keep providing for my gnome family,” Shineneedle said. “Finally, I broke down and did what I had to do to, I’m not proud of it. No laundry gnome would be proud of this.”
As to why he came forward and confessed, Shineneedle explains that the Western Herald article about the stolen laundry helped him see the damage and pain he was causing among the distraught students.
“My gnome son wanted a new bike for his birthday and I couldn’t afford it so I stole some more clothes in order to make my son the happiest he’s been in months,” Shineneedle said. “Though the smile on his face was one that will warm my heart for the rest of my life, I knew it came at the cost of tearing apart these students’ lives.”
Campus police have currently transferred Shineneedle over to the custody of Kalamazoo Police, where he will be charged. Since he is a repeat offender, the charges are expected to be more severe.
“He’s not going to jail for the rest of his life,” Officer Murphy said. “But I can tell you that his days as a laundry gnome are over.”
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