Theft in Freshman Residence Halls Increases Security Patrols
By Abigail Moore
Unlocked doors in residence halls have left some students with empty wallets.
Six students have reported theft from their room. Someone has stolen around $500 in cash and charged $700 on a credit card with various purchases in the past couple of September weekends.
“I’m pretty sure it was stolen while I took a nap. It was so hot in my room so I left the door open. I was sleeping and I’m pretty sure somebody came in and stole $120 from me,” Hayes said. “They didn’t take my wallet, just the money in it.”
Resident Assistant Blake Johnson supervises the residence hall where the incidents occurred.
“People started reporting stealing of money. It doesn’t seem to be personal belongings, it’s people stealing cash out of wallets when they leave the room or leave their door unlocked,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he has been communicating with his residents and compiling the reports to pass on to security and residence life in hopes it will speed-up the process. The incidents are happening between midnight and 4 a.m on Friday and Saturday nights, when students are asleep or out of their rooms. Reports started occurring during the weekend of Sept. 16 and 17, although, many students did not report the stolen cash until a week later.
Johnson believes the person lives in either Garner Hall or Helein Hall due to the familiarity of the rooms and those who live in them.
“The person is breaking into rooms, jiggling locks, seeing what’s in there, and taking cash. They take cash from rooms when door is unlocked, taking what they can and doing it quickly. The perpetrator also took a credit card. That person has used up to $700 on that credit card, on top of stolen cash,” Residence Director Cooper Harrison said.
Sam Lathrop explained that in his past six years of being head security director, he’s never had to investigate a theft from a student’s room where the door was locked. Lathrop always advocates the importance of locking your dorm room.
“Thefts that we’ve experienced are crimes of opportunity. The opportunity exists when you don’t lock stuff up,” Lathrop said.
Residence life is currently working with the Quincy Police Department to resolve the issue.
“The fact that the student has stolen so much money, the consequences will be pretty bad. We will have our own consequence for the student at school,” Harrison said. “I’m assuming expulsion is not off the table for this.”
Cole Hayes, a freshman living in Garner Hall, had money stolen one afternoon while he was sleeping in his dorm.
Residence life is now having security patrol the freshman dorms with more caution. Security and residence life are pairing up to secure the dorms with “directed patrols”, where a security officer meets with an RD or RA on duty to watch the halls a little closer.
“It’s a freshman dorm thing. It’s just something you just got to reinforce to the residents to lock your dorms, even if you go to the bathroom or leave your room for a short period of time. Lock your door,” Harrison said.