On Tuesday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the seventh floor of Coles Tower was broken into and belongings of tower residents were stolen or left disfigured. The incident marked the second break-in to have occurred on campus in a little over a month.
"Some living spaces were entered and some cash was taken...there are also some other indications in there beyond that, [which] indicate that people were in the living space," said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. "It's possible that one of the exterior doors to one of the suites was not closed properly."
Of the eight students on the floor, two reported they had money stolen.
"Two individuals had money on their desks in their bedrooms—one had $30 and one had $80—and both of those were swiped," said Brian Lohotsky '11, a resident of the floor. "Another individual in our [suite] had four of her birth control pills removed from the package, and [while] it was just an arbitrary four, it's still someone taking your birth control."
Sam Siegel '11 was one of the students whose money was stolen.
"I had $80 stolen off of my desk, and I probably wouldn't have even noticed because they only took $80 out of $120...that I was using for Hillel events," she said. "I wouldn't have checked to see if it was all there except my roommate had money stolen, so I did."
Neither Security nor the students involved ruled out the possibility of multiple break-ins.
"There were some other times according to the initial report where some unusual things were found disturbed in the apartment that might indicate somebody else had come in at different times," said Nichols.
"I think it was twice [because] in my common room we had a stack of condoms, and on two separate occasions, once myself and once one of my roommates found one of the condoms punctured," said Lohotsky.
"Then that Friday night [January 28] when I worked at the Pub, I left at 7:15 p.m. and got back at 2:15 a.m., the same time one of my roommates got back," he added. "Otherwise no one else had been in our room...and there was a glass bottle of hot sauce on top of our refrigerator that had been there all year, virtually untouched, and it was on the floor broken, a puddle of hot sauce everywhere."
There was also no evidence of forced entry from the break-in.
"The [room] next to us, the door actually didn't used to close all the way," said Lohotsky. "It was fixed a couple nights ago when we had Security come over, and they called Facilities for us, but when this happened that door didn't shut and there's frequently a door on the floor that's left propped."
Nichols confirmed this and urged students to keep their doors closed.
"We had Facilities make a repair to one of the doors so it doesn't hang up and not latch properly," he said. "People [should] keep their doors locked and secure their personal property as best they can to prevent crimes of opportunity like this. [For] students living in the Tower...the steel doors into the suites are actually fire doors as well, and those doors must be kept closed and locked at all times for fire code purposes."
According to Nichols, the investigation is in its early stages and had yet to result in any concrete leads.
"As for any suspects at the present time, there are none," he said. "We are actively investigating it and spending time on it everyday."
According to Nichols, it was unlikely that the intruders were the same ones that broke into MacMillan House on December 28 though.
Once again, the break-in has left students shaken and angry.
"It's pretty weird to know that somebody's been in my room...I don't really want to have to lock my door all the time," said Siegel.
"With money being stolen, at least you can see the motivation behind it...but deliberate acts of sabotage against people's birth control methods just seemed psychotic," said Lohotsky.
Nichols added that the break-in followed other small thefts on campus.
"We also had a couple of thefts in Coles Tower down in the Textbook store on January 24 and 25," said Nichols.
Security does not know if these thefts are connected to the break-in. An iPod and some clothing items were stolen from the cubbies in the store.