Just weeks into the new semester, the Office of Safety and Security has already sent two alerts warning the community about suspicious individuals.
The first alert was sent the morning of August 28, warning College employees and students about Abraham Chipman, 35, who allegedly acted erratically near campus on August 18, when he was issued a criminal trespass order and a harassment notice. This notice bans him from having further communications with anyone from the College.
According to Nichols, Chipman subsequently made a series of late-night phone calls to the Security Communications Center on August 27. In these calls, he reportedly spoke about his anger toward the police and the College and threatened physical damage to the Bowdoin Pines.
These calls were recorded and given to the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), who summoned Chipman to court for violation of the harassment notice. Security does not know what caused Chipman’s erratic behavior.
“If someone sees him on campus, they should stand clear and immediately call Bowdoin Security or the Brunswick Police,” Nichols said. “If he violates the trespass order, he will be arrested.”
Nichols did not elaborate on how Chipman threatened to damage the Bowdoin Pines.
According to an August 9 Bangor Daily News report, Chipman was taken into custody on August 6 after he allegedly led BPD officers on a low-speed chase between Brunswick’s Potter Street and Parkview Adventist Medical Center, where he reportedly threatened police with a clam rake.
The article quoted Deputy Chief Marc Hagan of the BPD, who said Chipman was later admitted to Mid Coast Hospital for both a cut on his head and “a suspected psychological issue.”
Henry Lavender, 29, is the subject of the second campus security alert, sent the afternoon of September 6. According to Nichols, Lavender was seen outside Howard Hall attempting to hacksaw through “a very heavy duty cable lock” in order to steal a bicycle.
A group of students saw this behavior and immediately called Security, who responded to the students’ call within a minute and detained Lavender.
“He was certainly prepared to cut any cable lock he wanted to,” Nichols said.
Lavender allegedly cut almost entirely through the lock when Security arrived on the scene and “caught him in the act of cutting the cable.”
Upon the arrival of the BPD, Lavender allegedly ran into the woods near campus, where he was later found. He was given summonses for possession of burglar’s tools and criminal mischief after reportedly damaging the bike lock.
“Fortunately, the bike was not stolen because of the prompt call and Security’s response to it,” Nichols said.
Lavender is now a suspect in the previous weeks Howard Hall incident, during which two bicycles were stolen from the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center (SOLC). The bike cables had cuts similar to those made in the recent attempted theft.
“We have not been able to specifically tie [Lavender] in to other thefts on campus enough to bring charges,” Nichols said. “He is certainly a suspect to two bike thefts at the SOLC the previous week, but there is not enough information to bring charges at this time.”
According to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, there have been no additional suspects detained despite additional reports of bike thefts in the days since.
“Even if you postpone the call by just a few minutes, that can make the difference between if that person can be questioned or apprehended,” he said.
Security is currently holding meetings in first-year bricks to teach new students how to stay safe and report suspicious activities.
John Branch ’16 said he thinks the meetings have been informative.
“After these meetings, I feel like most students feel like they have an obligation to call in,” he said.
Nichols said he encourages students to call Security whenever something feels wrong.
“I really want students to assume if it doesn’t look right, if it doesn’t feel right, to go with that and report it,” Nichols said. “Normally, when a student reports suspicious activity, they’re absolutely right.”