Students returning to campus from Spring Break received an email alerting them to a break-in that occurred in a Brunswick Apartments residence at 3:30 a.m. last Sunday. An intruder entered the first-floor apartment through an unlocked window and encountered a female student.

The student had returned early from break before her two roommates. She woke up when she heard the intruder attempting to enter through her bedroom window. 

“I lay in bed frozen, both from fear and from an attempt to go unnoticed by the intruder,” wrote the junior, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, in an email to the Orient. 

The suspect then moved to a different bedroom, slid it open, and climbed into the apartment. The student heard footsteps leave the other bedroom and enter the hall. 

“Suddenly, the doorknob to my bedroom door turned squeakily and my door creaked open. In the doorway, from what little illumination the kitchen light provided, I saw a hooded man,” she wrote. “Praying it was a drunken student, I tentatively whimpered ‘hello’.” 

The intruder slammed her bedroom door and ran to the kitchen, where a light was on.
He then ran straight across the building entry hall into the next apartment, which happened to have a “bricked” door, where a male sophomore was asleep in his bedroom. 

“I was sleeping in bed at like 3:40 a.m., and I suddenly wake up and hear something in my kitchen, and I assume it’s my roommate,” said the male student, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. 

“And then I’m like wait, 3:40 a.m., why would my roommate be coming back from Spring Break at that time?” he said.

Hearing the commotion, the student got up just in time to see the intruder flee out of a window in his apartment’s kitchen, across the parking lot toward Longfellow Avenue.

After receiving calls from both students, Bowdoin Security arrived within a minute, and the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) soon thereafter. They searched the area but were not able to find the intruder.

Based off descriptions given by each of the students—who both had obscured views of the intruder due to the darkness—the suspect is a male between 5’10” and 6’ who was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with the hood up on the morning of the incident.

Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols arrived later that morning, continuing the search with Security while an officer remained posted at Brunswick Apartments until daylight to ensure the safety of the residents.

On Maine Street, Nichols encountered a man, who was then questioned by the BPD, who fit the description given by the male and female Brunswick Apartment residents. The man was released, and Security said that they did not believe he was involved.

Nichols then entered the 7-Eleven store on Maine Street and questioned the clerk about any suspicious activity earlier that morning. He obtained video footage from 2:15 a.m. of a suspect matching the description.

This image of the suspect has been shown to the residents of the apartments in question as well as BPD and Security. Security will not release the image to the community until they are more certain that it is the intruder, according to Nichols.

“We don’t know precisely who’s involved in this, we do have some information we’re investigating right now in regards to the identity of the person that I can’t divulge at the moment,” said Nichols. Security believes the suspect is not a student.

“Whether this person was looking to break in to steal something or perhaps it was a homeless person looking for a warm place to stay—we don’t know for sure,” said Nichols.

Another security email was sent to Bowdoin students just days before the attempted burglary. Nichols reported that in the late afternoon or early evening of March 14, someone entered an unlocked vehicle at the gate to Whittier Field and another at Pine Street Apartments—belonging to a Bowdoin staff member and a student, respectively. 

At Whittier, the staff member was out walking his dog; when he came back, he saw that his vehicle had been rifled through, according to Nichols. 

Though the glove compartment and other areas were overturned as if the intruder was looking for cash, there was nothing reported missing from the vehicle.                           

Nichols noted that the Pine Street incident was “pretty much identical.” 

The security email identified Robert Carroll as the alleged suspect. He is a transient who is suspected by the BPD of squatting in buildings on private property and has allegedly been seen going through unlocked vehicles in neighborhoods near campus. Although there were no witnesses to the theft attempts involving these Bowdoin community members, Carroll is a suspect because of the proximity of the events.

“A very simple precaution is to lock your vehicle and not leave anything in the vehicle that is of value and might be of interest to a thief,” said Nichols.

He pointed out that no windows were broken in either the Brunswick Apartments break-in or the unlocked car entries.

“Keep your doors and windows locked. That goes a long way toward preventing these types of crimes,” said Nichols.

According to Nichols, swipe-card locks will be added to the Brunswick Apartments entrances this summer.

“We’re going to be increasing our patrols down at Brunswick Apartments, which is something we usually do when there is an uptick in activity,” he continued.

Nichols said that events like these help to raise awareness.

“I think that in and of itself makes the campus safer,” he said. “If something doesn’t happen for a year or two or three, it’s very easy for people to become lackadaisical in their approach to their personal safety.”

Nichols encouraged students to report any suspicious activity or people to Security. 

“We will take whatever action necessary to make sure that this campus remains safe,” said Nichols.

Correction, March 28 at 10 a.m.: The article previously stated that Nichols questioned the initial suspect he encountered; it has been corrected to show that BPD actually did the questioning.

Correction, March 31 at 4:15 p.m.: The article has been updated to clarify that Carroll is a suspect, and has not been charged with any crimes. The car break-in and squatting allegations are only allegations, made by Bowdoin Security and BPD respectively.