Author: Riley Kimball
Several residence halls on campus were subject to break-ins and thefts during winter break. Two laptops, five Wii games, a Wii remote and money were stolen from rooms in Norris Green, Norris Yellow and Braun Halls with no evidence of forced entry.
Additionally, a laptop and camera were stolen from Pauley Hall, and a car was vandalized in the Pauley parking lot, according to Campus Safety.
No thefts were reported by residents of Newcomb Hall, the only residence hall where students lived during the vacation.
Currently, the investigation suggests that the culprit may be a student. “It appears this was someone inside our Oxy community,” Campus Safety Director Hollis Nieto said. “This and the fact that the burglar or burglars did not steal other valuables is helpful. It’s almost like someone knew what they were looking for.”Lauren Howarth (first-year), one of the burglary victims, says her trust in Oxy has been shaken because of the thefts. “Before the break-in, I felt that Norris was generally a safe place to live, and that’s why I left my laptop in my dorm,” she said. “Now, I don’t really feel safe leaving my important belongings in my dorm.”
Resident Advisors and other members of ResLife staff have attempted to act as liaisons between the investigators and the student body, but they have been stifled by a lack of information.
“Right now I have no leads as to who it was or whether [this and the Norris and Braun burglaries] are related instances or not,” Pauley Hall Coordinator Deylin Thrift-Viveros (senior) said. “I have been advising residents to be responsible for the people they let in the halls, and to report any suspicious activity they may see.”
Resident advisors have attempted to reassure their residents that the investigation is working hard to get to the bottom of the burglaries, while reminding them to stay vigilant.
After thorough investigation, Campus Safety has concluded that the outside doors and rooms of the buildings showed no signs of a break-in. After questioning those individuals with permitted access to the area, they are left without suspects.
“There’s not much further we can go with no clues,” Nieto said. “It’s perplexed us.”As a last resort, Campus Safety has reverted to working with ITS, attempting to locate the missing laptop through new technology.
According to victims of past robberies, inconclusive findings are both familiar and frustrating.
“I had over $500 dollars of stuff stolen over winter break two years ago, and many other people in my dorm reported items stolen as well,” Noah Tovares (senior) said. “This issue has been around for a while, and Campus Safety hasn’t really done anything about it.”
The most recent robberies are not the first time students have been subjected to crimes in residence halls. An iPod was stolen from Newcomb hall last winter and some money was stolen from Norris hall two years ago.
On all occasions, except for the most recent burglaries, follow-up investigations concluded that the perpetrators were not from the Oxy community.
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