Axe Theft of 1953
Date: June 9, 1953
Location: Men’s Club Room Trophy Case, Stephans Union, Berkeley
Duration: 5 months
While relatively little is known about the theft itself, the most interesting dimension of this theft is the unsuccessful investigation to locate the stolen Axe. The Axe was discovered to be missing from its case in the student union of the University of California. The case was broken, the Axe plaque thrown on the floor, but the Axe was nowhere to be found. The only clue left behind by the thief was a five dollar bill, presumably to cover the cost of the damage.
The University of California organized a special committee to locate the Axe. The committee employed tactics of informal questioning of Stanford fraternities, the fabrication of an Axe duplicate to confuse the thief, and even an offer to refund the thief’s damage fee! None of the committee’s plans worked, and California’s Big Game Rally was Axe-less.
The Axe was returned on Big Game Day — in time for Cal to take it home again after a 21-21 tie game. To this day, no one knows exactly where the Axe was for the five months of its absence.
Here are the details and accounts of the 1953 theft:
From The Stanford Daily
- June 23, 1953 – Stanford Axe Still Missing
- October 5, 1953 – UC to Name Axe-Finding Committee
- October 29, 1953 – ASUC Promises Refund To Axe Purloiners
- November 5, 1953 – On Other Campuses
- November 9, 1953 – Non-Aggression Pact Ratified
- November 10, 1953 – Let’s Live Up to the Pact Editorial
- November 11, 1953 – Cal Continues Hunt For Axe
- November 16, 1953 – Axe Rumors — No Results
- November 18, 1953 – Cal Students Admit It — They Didn’t Find the Axe
- November 20, 1953 – ASUC Prexy ‘Pretty Sure’ Axe on Farm
- November 23, 1953 – Axe Found in Stanford Car, Returned to Cal
- November 24, 1953 – Cal Plans New Case for Axe