Update on yesterday's crime scene investigation:
This morning I pulled aside the suspected thief of yesterday and very calmly asked her if she knew anything about the missing mp3 player. She responded with an agitated "no!" and said that two girls had already called her last night to ask if she had taken it. I asked her 1 more time and she still said no, so I told her I believed her and dropped it. Right before lunch when all the kids were in the room, I gave a friendly reminder to the class that we don't bring electronics to school because there is no way we can prevent them from being stolen. Lots of different people come and go from our room during the day, and we can't lock up backpacks. Then I told them that we should all be on the lookout for the mp3 player, but that they're not the police and it's not their job to spread any gossip about who may or may not have taken it, or to hound friends about it. I did say, though, that if anyone took it or knew who took it, if they returned it, there would be no consequence, and suggested (thanks elmo for the advice!) that they just bring it to the office, or to me, and say they found it...and we would let it go.
Miracle of miracles, the girl from whom it was taken came up to me later in the day and just said, "I got my mp3 player back. A student found it in their backpack." I smiled, "That's great." The end.
Well isn't that interesting...but I'll take it!