The Unsolved M*A*S*H Mystery: Who Was the Thief at the 4077th?
As I continue my chronological re-watch of the series M*A*S*H, I find myself asking questions about the series I never thought to ask before. This includes "where did Frank Burns (Larry Linville) go when he lost command to Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan)?" and "if Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) was so loved, why wasn't his widow invited to the 4077th family party?"
However, one unsolved mystery from the series really has stood out for me in particular - who was the thief?
I am, of course, not referring to Ho-Jon (Patrick Adiarte), who was caught stealing in the season 1 episode I Hate a Mystery. Instead, I am referring to the thief (or gang of thieves) that strikes at various other times throughout the series, with the thefts including a camera, a bag of money, and even a wounded soldier's personal effects. While some of the items were eventually recovered, the thief was never caught.
At first, it would be easy to assume the thief was an outsider. After all, the 4077th was one big family. Plus, the camp typically had plenty of people who weren't normally there, including wounded and poverty-stricken locals. However, the theft of the money occurred in the company mess tent and the camera was specifically targeted and taken from Hawkeye's (Alan Alda) foot locker, suggesting it was someone with intimate knowledge of what was going on in the camp (or, at minimum, what was going on with Hawkeye). It might not have been one of the main characters, but there were plenty of nameless personnel running around camp that weren't making a surgeon's wages.
In any case, it's a question that will remain unanswered and the mystery lover in me is disappointed by that.