The Department of Public Safety is investigating a string of home invasions and thefts that occurred in South Quad Residence Hall this weekend. Officials said one of the incidents may be connected to two previous West Quad Residence Hall home invasions.
Two South Quad residents reported that their keys were stolen out of bathrooms while they were taking showers Friday morning. In the first incident, which was reported around 9:30 a.m., an unknown person broke into the victim’s room and stole $20. In the second incident, reported around 10:15 a.m. and occurring in a third floor restroom, an unknown person stole keys from a hook near the showers and knocked on the victim’s door, disappearing when the victim’s roommate answered. According to DPS reports, the roommate observed a darkly clothed male through the peephole prior to opening the door. No further description was given.
A suspect was located and detained for questioning but later released in the first incident. DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown could not say if the person is still a suspect. Money was also reported stolen from two other occupied South Quad rooms Friday.
Despite the number of crimes and the similarity among them, Brown said she does not believe they are connected.
“At this point, they don’t appear to be connected, but they are still investigating each of those incidents,” she said, adding that DPS is investigating a connection in two other recent thefts, one which also occurred Friday in South Quad.
DPS released a composite sketch of a man who officers believe entered a room in West Quad Wednesday and demanded money from the resident. After taking an unspecified amount of money, the man left the room, entered another unoccupied room down the hall and took a wallet, which he returned after being confronted by its owner as he was leaving the room. He then fled the scene on foot. Witnesses described the man as being a 5-foot-10, 240-pound black male in his mid-30s with medium complexion, a scruffy goatee or beard and crooked teeth wearing a black watch cap, red work-type coat, green pants and black work boots.
Brown said the description also matches another one given to officers about a man asking South Quad residents for donations to an area homeless shelter. The man allegedly asked two residents if he could use their phone and one saw him thumbing through a wallet. The suspect then left the area, without the wallet. They reportedly discovered $135 missing.
“There’s enough similarity in the description that we are investigating a possible connection,” Brown said.
Several South Quad residents said they still believe their possessions are safe in the residence halls, but added that they are anxious for new security measures to begin working.
Security cameras are currently being installed in the residence hall’s two main entrances but are not yet working.
“I feel my stuff is very safe, except for when I lose my M-Card and keys,” said Music freshman Andy Papas, adding he believes his keys were recently stolen after he accidentally left them in his mailbox keyhole.
The heightened awareness of on-campus theft led Papas to immediately change his door locks. He said nothing was missing from his room. His keys have not been returned.
“I hate having to lock my doors all the time. It’s just such a pain,” Papas said, adding that like many others, he does it anyway.