Senseless theft steals wholesome joy

Puzzle swap box stolen from Islip lawn


Islip resident Kristin Squire has always loved puzzles.

Having completed so many puzzles over the years, she had established a large collection that she did not quite know what to do with. Inspired by the take-and-leave library box created by her mother Pat Squire, who lives next door, Kristin created her own puzzle swap box for the greater Islip community to enjoy, located in front of her house at 90 Bitterment Street in Islip.

Kristin ordered a $400 custom-made puzzle swap box from a vendor on Etsy, who repurposes old newspaper boxes. After anticipating the boxs arrival for weeks, the custom box, inscribed with Take a puzzle, Leave a puzzle,§ finally arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Squire set the box up in her front yard close to the sidewalk, and immediately spread the news to local Islip Facebook groups.

The positive feedback from the community immediately rolled in.

"Everyone is really excited. I already had a whole bunch of people stop by, and everyone is really genuinely positive about it," Squire shared with the Islip Bulletin on Wednesday. "I love doing puzzles myself, so I am really happy to share that love with the community."

During that Wednesday conversation, Squire shared that it was difficult to get the box down the driveway, since the puzzle swap box weighed a whopping 65 pounds before it was filled with puzzles. During the lighthearted conversation, I had mused that at least she could rest easy knowing that the box was not going to budge from its spot on the lawn.

The next day, Kristin Squire informed me that the puzzle swap box had been stolen.

On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 22, the puzzle box was taken in broad daylight sometime between 8:30 and 9 a.m., only two days after Squire set up the box.

"I filed a police report, but they could not file it as a criminal report because I did not actually see someone take it," explained Squire. "Since it was kind of where garbage or recycling might go, they could not prove criminal intent. So, it was only filed as an incident report, and that was kind of that."

Squire explained that the only motive she could imagine someone would have for taking the box would be to potentially sell the large box for scrap metal.

The disappearance reasonably disappointed Squire and members of the greater Islip community, who were looking forward to frequenting the puzzle swap box, especially considering how senseless the theft was. Yet, Squire shared that she would not let the theft stop her from creating another puzzle swap station outside her home in the future.

"I hope to get another one, and I would definitely have to cement it or chain it down or something to make sure," explained Squire. "Hopefully, I will get another one and get it back up and running, and hopefully it will be more secure."

Following the theft, a GoFundMe fundraiser was organized by Luke and Jessica, founders of The Puzzle Republic, to raise funds for a new library and security for Kristin. The Puzzle Republic is a website run by husband and wife Luke and Jessica that functions as a database for all puzzle libraries in the US. Since the GoFundMe was created, the $450 goal has already been met, enabling Squire to once again create a new puzzle swap for all of Islip to enjoy!

In the meantime, bibliophiles can use the take-and-leave library box created by Pat Squire, Kristin Squire’s mother, located outside her home Islip at 94 Bitterment Street.