An LSA freshman was arraigned yesterday in the 15th District Court for allegedly committing a series of home invasions that occurred in West Quad Residence Hall Oct. 21.
The student cooperated with police and turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Garth Wisdom II faces one count of second-degree home invasion and three counts of first-degree home invasion. Both charges are felonies with penalties of 20 and 15 years in jail, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said.
After his arraignment, Wisdom, a Southfield resident who has been removed from his room in West Quad, was released from police custody. His preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.
Wisdom’s father, Garth Wisdom I, said his son is now living with friends and commuting to campus.
“He was never in trouble before,” his father said.
“Some freshmen have harder times than others adjusting, and some people do stupid things. … But there are things he is being accused of that are not true.”
In order for a person to be charged with second-degree home invasion, he or she must enter the premises without permission and with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. First-degree home invasion occurs when the person is armed with a dangerous weapon or if another person is lawfully inside the room, Brown said.
She added that Wisdom had not been carrying any kind of weapon.
According to DPS reports, Wisdom allegedly walked into several unlocked rooms in West Quad, taking wallets, computer games and cash.
Brown said the wallets and computer games were recovered, but the cash – totaling approximately $300 – was not.
Several West Quad residents were not surprised that a student was a suspect in the alleged thefts.
“I don’t think it’s surprising for it to be someone who lives here. We all have access to get in here more easily than someone on the outside,” LSA freshman and West Quad resident Laura Ochoa said.
“Unfortunately, these things are more common than you would hope,” Kinesiology freshman Jen Vassil said, adding that she is disappointed that she could not trust those who live near her.
But she added that she believes students who commit crimes against others should be judged on a case-by-case basis.
“I don’t think it can be a one-size-fits-all,” she said.
The thefts all occurred within the span of several daytime hours, Brown said. Wisdom was identified as a suspect after DPS officers conducted interviews with residents that same day.
Several students living in Wisdom’s hall said Housing officials requested that they not comment on the alleged thefts due to the ongoing investigation.
Greg Merritt, the assistant director of residence education for University Housing, said that while he could not comment on specific cases, students who break the Community Living at Michigan rules and regulations can be removed from University Housing in certain cases.
“Emergency action would be taken where their continued presence in residence hall causes imminent danger to persons or property,” Merritt said.
“It’s not a frequent response.”
Whether there is imminent danger involved is determined by University Housing and the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, he added.
According to the Community Living at Michigan handbook, if emergency removal is imposed on a student, he or she is entitled to formal arbitration.
They are not allowed to return to the building they were vacated from until the arbitration process is complete.