Residents of MacMillan House who returned to campus last weekend after break were generally relieved to discover the majority of their personal property undisturbed following a break-in that occurred over the long winter vacation.
The Office of Safety and Security reported that the break-in most likely occurred at about 4 a.m. on December 28, while most students were away for Winter Break.
In the aftermath of the incident, it was unclear how many items of value had been stolen from the house. When MacMillan House residents returned to campus, many were happy to find the majority of their personal belongings still in their rooms.
"I had been concerned that jewelry, or other possessions with sentimental value, had been stolen, but when I looked through my room, all my jewelry and other belongings were still there," wrote Heidi Harrison '13 in an e-mail to the Orient. "A ceiling decoration had been knocked down and a few other objects had been knocked over or moved around, but other than that, I was very relieved to find that everything looked exactly as I had left it."
Other students reported similar experiences when they returned to campus last weekend.
"As far as things taken, I was surprised because the only valuable thing they stole from me was a nice watch...they left my digital camera, our television, and some other nice jewelry. I live with two other people, and the only valuables that they had stolen were a digital camera and 20 dollars," wrote Julia Graham '13 in an e-mail to the Orient.
House proctor Melanie Gaynes '13 reported that her belongings had not been stolen.
"Nothing was damaged in my room, though items were definitely out of place," wrote Gaynes in an e-mail to the Orient. "For example, my towels had been taken out of my drawers and my TV was unplugged and put on my bed. There was also a footprint on my door, which was unsettling. The only items missing were a backpack and a sleeping pad, [but] the backpack ended up being in my neighbor's room."
In the days immediately following the January 6 discovery of the break-in, residents received e-mail updates from the Office of Safety and Security concerning the investigation. Recently, however, updates have stalled as the investigation continues.
"Honestly, I haven't been told all that much about the investigation, just because I don't think the police are telling people," wrote MacMillan House President Tanu Kumar '12 in an e-mail to the Orient.
Director of Safety and Security Randall Nichols said that there was "nothing further to report except that one returning student reported that two digital cameras were stolen during the break-in. [It's] still under investigation."
Pending further results from the investigation, students have begun hypothesizing possible motives for the break-in. While evidence suggests that the burglars were interrupted mid-theft, some students whose rooms were broken into have suggested the culprits may have been looking for specific items in the house.
"Some jewelry had been dumped out of jewelry boxes but it had not been stolen, which leads me to think that the person who broke into my room could have been looking for drugs—it seemed odd that they didn't steal jewelry when it was right in front of them," wrote Harrison.
Graham added that "whoever broke in also emptied out some old prescription medications I had in my desk."
The break-in has affected the residents of MacMillan House in different ways, though several emphasized their discomfort with the security breach.
"After being notified that my room had been broken into, I was feeling like my personal space and privacy had been invaded and was a little worried that my single might not feel quite so homey after the break-in," wrote Harrison. "But now that I've been back on campus for a few days it feels like my room and life at Mac has gone back to normal."
"It was most alarming when we got the first e-mail in early January, and didn't have very much information," wrote Sarah Johnson '13 in an e-mail to the Orient. "Afterward though, Security and [Residential Life] did a good job of keeping us informed, sending us pictures and giving us calls. Ultimately, there isn't much that can be done now about what was taken."
Others, however, did not share such a positive outlook regarding the early stages of the investigation.
"I think that the school needs to live up to a certain level of security especially when we keep things of value in our room," wrote Kerry Townsend '13 in an e-mail to the Orient. "Our door was completely broken through so we had to get a new door to our room. Although I trust that security will do what they can, it definitely makes me think twice about leaving my laptop on my desk even when my door is locked."
"[We] have the mentality that [we] are completely safe in the 'Bowdoin Bubble,' but clearly that is not always the case," wrote Graham. "I definitely felt a little violated when someone rifled through all my belongings, and perhaps a bit uncertain about how secure Bowdoin really is. I think I am a bit more mindful about closing my door when I leave the room and not walking alone at night because I am more aware that Brunswick is not always completely safe."
Even with all these security concerns, Harrison managed to remain upbeat.
"As the Security Officer said to me, this was perhaps a nicer thief, in that he or she did not steal anything that seemed to have sentimental value," wrote Harrison. "Maybe this is true, or maybe the thief was spooked before [they] could really steal anything, but it's nice to think it might be the former."