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Penn Police recently arrested a man in connection with several burglaries in the area but is continuing to investigate other similar incidents on and near campus.

Burglaries in the Penn patrol zone were up 94 percent for 2008 through the end of September. A large number of those reported this semester have occurred at fraternity houses.

Jerry Porter, 38, was arrested on Oct. 10 on four counts of burglary and related offenses, and police are looking into his possible involvement in similar crimes.

Police say two of the burglaries Porter is accused of committing took place at a fraternity house.

According to Chief of Investigations Mike Morrin, Porter had been in jail for the last two years for the same crime he was arrested for a few weeks ago - burglarizing a Penn fraternity.

Porter was released from prison in July 2008.

Penn Police is working with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Repeat Offender's Unit and the Philadelphia County Probation and Parole Department following Porter's arrest.

Chief of Penn Police Mark Dorsey said it was difficult to find the perpetrator because of a lack of eyewitness accounts.

DPS spokeswoman Stef Cella wrote in an e-mail that Porter was taken into custody in the early morning of Oct. 10 after police observed him approaching porches on the 3900 block of Spruce Street.

Porter is still in custody after failing to post $5,000 bail. A status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4.

Most burglaries reported on campus this semester did not involve the use of force in entering the houses because a door or window was left open.

Dorsey said such carelessness is not limited only to Penn students.

"Unfortunately it happens all over the nation on college campuses," he said.

Even though one arrest has been made, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Scott Reikofski emphasized the importance of continuing to take precautions in preventing future burglaries.

"We live in a large city and can't take safety for granted," he said.

Morrin echoed this sentiment, urging students to be vigilant in protecting themselves from theft.

"If you see someone in your house, and something seems not quite right in them being there, call the police immediately," he said.

In the most high-profile incident, a significant number of items were reported stolen from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house over the weekend.

That crime, police say, does not appear to be related to the burglaries Porter is accused of committing or other similar incidents because the perpetrator is thought to be a guest of a fraternity brother.

No arrest has been made in that case.

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