The Office of Safety and Security discovered evidence of a break-in at MacMillan House around 7 a.m. on January 6 when an electrician doing work on the house reported evidence of damage.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols reported that he believes the break-in occurred around 4 a.m. on December 28, as door access records from MacMillan House indicate the door was forced at about that time. Six rooms on the second floor were broken into after the perpetrator reportedly kicked in the doors.
Nichols reported that at this point it does not appear that anything of value is missing, but that the Office of Safety and Security will not be sure of how much property is missing or damaged until all residents of MacMillan House return to campus.
Heidi Harrison '13 reported that her room was one of the six broken into.
"I could tell from the pictures that my belongings had been rummaged through, moved around, or knocked over," wrote Harrison in an e-mail to the Orient. "However, I could also see from the pictures that my flat screen TV had not been damaged or stolen, and that much, if not all, of my clothes and other belongings were still there."
Nichols said that in one room a flat screen television had been disconnected and placed on a bed along with some other items. "The burglars intended to steal some stuff, that's for sure," he said. "They were just getting ready to load up, but it didn't happen." One student also reported that she may be missing a small amount of cash.
Nichols said that "the burglars were in there for a short amount of time, probably a shorter amount of time than they intended," and speculated that they may have been scared away by a passing police or security vehicle.
"We've gone back and carefully looked at the door access records to see if anyone swiped in," said Nichols. "We could see some activity on the door access record that indicates that the door was forced." Door access records keep track of all entries into College buildings and are able to determine whether doors are forced or bricked at a given time.
Nichols added that the perpetrator entered through the south door of Macmillan House. "There were some pry marks on the door that indicate... someone just pried the door and got in the south side door of [Macmillan] House," said Nichols.
Pry marks were also found on the back door of Macmillan House and on the north side door of Quinby House. While Nichols stated that the pry marks might not be related, he said, "it's possible that [the perpetrator] just tried different doors and found one that they could get in."
The damaged doors have since been secured, and Nichols reported that the door access monitoring system underwent an upgrade earlier this week. "This will give us audible alarms for forced doors, rather than just a data line on a screen," wrote Nichols in a e-mail to the Orient. Nichols explained that the upgrade will improve the monitoring system so that "what would likely be a burglary in progress is going to trigger an alarm."
Nichols said that campus buildings have been broken into over the winter and spring breaks in the past.
"Not every year, but for several years we've had break-ins into several buildings on campus during break," he said. "Any campus is especially vulnerable during a long break because you don't have the eyes and ears of the community."
"I think this is pretty worrisome, just because there's not that much we can really do as students to prevent this from happening in the future," wrote MacMillan House president Tanu Kumar '12 in an e-mail to the Orient.
With the new upgrade to the monitoring system, the Office of Safety and Security will be able to more easily detect serious breaches of security.
"The worst part of the break-in, in my opinion, is the feeling that someone was looking through your things, and violating your personal space and privacy," said Harrison.