A Bowdoin employee was fired this week after allegedly stealing cash from residents of Coles Tower, and a Bowdoin student said it was his own investigation that cracked the case.
David Soohoo '08, who lives on the fifth floor of Coles Tower, said he installed a motion-activated webcam in his bedroom after $100 and $200 went missing in two separate incidents last month.
On Monday, Soohoo noticed that $40 was gone from his wallet, which was sitting on his desk. He checked his webcam recording and said that the video showed the housekeeper assigned to his floor entering his bedroom and picking up his wallet. He reported the incident to college security and provided a copy of the digital video recording, which he also showed to the Orient.
The Department of Safety and Security's report submitted to the Orient this week said that an employee was fired after "committing several thefts of cash" from students in Coles Tower.
Randy Nichols, the department's director, confirmed that the suspect was identified using video evidence and other investigative techniques. He would not confirm usage of a student's video camera and said he could not provide additional details about the case.
An officer at the Brunswick Police Department said police did not have a record of the alleged thefts in their logs. Soohoo said he has not filed criminal charges.
Director of Human Resources Tama Spoerri, reached at her home Thursday night, said she would not comment about the matter, citing confidentiality issues.
Soohoo said that he was in the suite next door watching TV when the video was recorded.
The webcam was clearly visible in his bedroom, Soohoo said. The camera was set up when he brought Orient reporters to his room on Thursday night, located in a pile of clothes on top of a shelf and connected to a laptop on the floor.
Soohoo had downloaded software from the Internet that activated the webcam when the camera detected motion in the room. He said he borrowed the webcam from a friend for the purpose of investigating the alleged thefts.
The $40 that Soohoo said was stolen from his wallet during the videotaped incident has been returned to him, he said. He said the College has been in communication with him about providing a $300 restitution check for the first two thefts he reported.
The door to Soohoo's bedroom was open when the alleged incidents took place. Tower bedroom doors use a manual key lock and must be closed by the resident to be locked. Suite doors and exterior dormitory doors around campus are opened with student ID cards and close automatically.
Soohoo's suitemate, Cody Wyant '07, said that his wallet, which contained $80 to $100, was taken from a dresser drawer a few weeks ago. He does not yet know if he will receive restitution.
Steve Kolowich, Beth Kowitt, and Nat Herz contributed to this report.