A "series of robberies" and a "rash of malicious fires" have plagued the Community House section of the Quadrangle this semester, according to Community House officials. The small fires have occurred only in Community House hallways, but thefts have also been reported by students in various houses of the Quad. According to the University Police Records Department, four of the nine theft reports filed this semester by Quad residents occurred in Community House. The others reportedly happened in the Butcher, Speakman and Morgan houses of the Quad. Community House officials said they do not know who is committing the thefts, but in a letter sent to all House residents last Thursday, Assistant Dean for Residence Cheryl Groce and Faculty Resident Peter Conn said the person may be a Community House resident. "It is possible that this perpetrator is a House resident, therefore it's important that residents take all precautions necessary," the letter said. Although the perpetrator's identity is unknown, the method of operation seems to follow a pattern: the thief finds an unlocked door, enters the room and quickly steals small items such as wallets or jewelry. In addition to the thefts, dozens of small fires have been set in Community House hallways, Groce said. As with the thefts, she said the perpetrator's identity is not known. There has been "a rash of malicious fires being set to burn posters, fliers, other paper materials posted on walls and on residents' doors," the Community House letter said. "This type of irresponsible behavior is dangerous and will eventually lead to the tragic loss of life." Groce said the fires have been occurring for three weeks, adding they initially appeared to be directed at one RA whose door and posters were burned. "But it has become more generalized now and it's no longer just directed at one person," Groce said. She refused to identify the RA. Groce said officials "really have no idea at this point" who may be lighting the fires, but she added there have been "a couple of sightings of possible suspects." The letter said anyone suspected of these fires will be arrested and "taken through the criminal justice system at the municipal level" as well as through the University's Judicial Inquiry Office. Although officials do not know who is lighting the fires, they say they are set at definite pattern. "During the week [the fires] die down," Groce said. "But there may be half a dozen on a Friday or Saturday evening." Fu said the most recent fires occurred last Wednesday night, bringing the total number of fires to five for his floor alone. One victim of the thefts, College freshman Sonita Midha, said someone entered her room between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. February 10 while she was sleeping. The door was unlocked since her roommate had gone to do laundry, she said. Midha said her wallet, a ring and a watch were stolen from her room. The wallet, which contained no cash, was found the next morning with all its contents except a MAC card and a credit card. College freshman Michael Winkelman, who lives in Speakman, said his wallet was taken from his room the same night that Midha's wallet was stolen. He said he left his door unlocked at 3 a.m. while he visited a friend for about five minutes. When he came back, the wallet was gone, he said. Winkelman said someone slipped his MAC card and driver's license, as well as the MAC card and credit card belonging to Midha, under his door later the next day.Comments powered by Disqus
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