The Axe Theft of 1973

20 November 1973 -- Ming's Heist

Custodian:California
Location:Ming's Restaurant, Palo Alto
Duration:4 days

The most recent theft of the Stanford Axe involves all the elements of a good Axe theft: masterful planning, quick thinking, and a fist fight at the end!

Members of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity managed to convince the UC Rally Committee that UC Coach Mike White wanted the Axe to make an appearance at a local press luncheon. The thieves arranged for Coach White and two of his football players to pick up the Axe from the UC student union where it is normally kept. "Coach White" called saying that he could not make it to pick up the Axe, but that the two football players would pick it up for him.

Everything was working perfectly -- the Stanford "Infamous Three," dressed in Cal letter jackets showed up to pick up the Axe for "Coach White" (and Stanford!). The only problem was that the Axe was not in its case -- UC Rally Committee had moved it to safer pastures. The quick thinking Stanford students contacted Rally Comm and arranged for them to take the Axe to the luncheon.

In the parking lot of Ming's restaurant in Palo Alto, the two "Cal football players" asked to hold the Axe (contemporary sources say that they invoked the time honored phrase "We want to take a picture..." but there is no support for this.)

After a brief struggle and the arrival of a cavalry of fellow fraternity brothers, the Axe was Stanford's once again.

Here are the details and accounts of the 1973 theft: