At least seven residents of Roberts Hall found evidence of unauthorized access to their rooms and reported items missing to Public Safety upon returning from winter break.
According to Director of Public Safety Mike Hill, Public Safety officers responded to one report of an incident regarding unauthorized access to a room in Roberts on January 15. The complainant told the officers there were several missing items from their room, but that they were not items of high monetary value and said they did not want police involvement. By January 18, Public Safety had received six more reports of unauthorized access, including additional reports of stolen items. Hill noted that there were no signs of forced entry in any of the reported incidents.
Emily Cai ‘18, a Roberts resident, did not realize that her body pillow and one of her blankets were missing until she began to unpack her things from winter break. When she realized her items were missing, she immediately called Public Safety.
“I found out that the window lock was broken, so it’s very possible they pushed it open and walked in,” she said.
Cai texted her roommate, Emilie Shepherd ‘18, who was off campus at the time of the incident, about the items when she discovered they were missing.
“When I got back, I saw a couple other weird things, there was a chalky debris on one of the desks and my books had been pushed forward. It looked like someone had stepped over them from the window. It was vaguely unsettling to think that somebody had just easily gotten into our room,” she said.
Several students noted that the items stolen were not of high value, and that the method in which things were stolen or moved was unusual.
“Two of my blankets were taken as well as my roommate’s pillow. The weirdest thing is that my baseball glove was moved — but not taken — and our bath mat was folded up and put in our trash can. Our TV was also angled differently than we had left it,” Roberts resident Cal Barnett-Mayotte ‘18 said in an email. He said bedding was stolen from other rooms, and speculated that the intruders may have been homeless.
Other students reported that their items were moved or disturbed, but that nothing was taken. David Holmgren ‘18 said that his guitar was removed from its case and that it appeared to have been tuned by whomever gained access to Roberts.
“As amazing as it would be for my guitar to stay in tune for all of break, I find it difficult to believe,” he said in an email.
Students had mixed reactions to Public Safety’s response to the incident. Barnett-Mayotte said that they when they arrived at Roberts, they came and asked what was stolen and for an estimate of the total value.
“Pub Safe was very professional in their response but they were equally confused [as we were,]” he said.
Shepherd said that Public Safety appeared to be doing everything that it could in response to the incident. “A Public Safety officer was [at Roberts in] fifteen minutes at midnight on a Tuesday, so they were there really promptly… but I obviously wish it didn’t happen and I don’t think it should have been able to happen,” she said.
Cai thought that Public Safety’s response was very helpful. She explained how a Public Safety officer showed her how to secure her windows after the incident and took notes on the incident.
“I still feel pretty secure in the hall, now that everybody is back,” Cai said.
The persons responsible for the unauthorized access in Roberts are still at large, and it does not appear that they will be apprehended soon.
“Unfortunately, at this point there is no available information on the identity of the perpetrators and no further action can be taken. Of course if anyone has any information that might help us identify the responsible party we welcome it,” Hill said.