Burglaries hit dorms

A first-floor suite in Davenport College was burglarized early Sunday morning, rounding off a series of room thefts over the summer.

Two Davenport seniors had cash stolen from their wallets while they slept after a burglar entered their five-person suite through an open window. Earlier in the summer, a number of Yale Summer Session participants had possessions taken from their rooms after a burglar obtained a set of keys to Morse College, where many of the students were staying.

Joshua Batson ’08, one of the victims of the Davenport thefts, said he and his suitemate noticed cash was missing from their wallets Sunday morning when they tried to pay for breakfast. He said he thinks the burglary must have taken place while he and his suitemates were sleeping in their separate bedrooms.

“We went out to breakfast and there was no money in either of our wallets,” Batson said. “Sometime between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. the cash in our wallets went missing.”

Batson said a third suitemate woke up in the middle of the night when he heard a noise in his room, followed by the sound of his door closing, but did not find any money missing from his wallet.

Despite taking the precaution of locking the suite door — a factor in many of the earlier summer session burglaries — Batson said he and his suitemates had not thought to lock their first-floor windows on their first night back on campus.

“We’re on the first floor, and our window was wide open and easy enough to travel through,” he said. “I’ve done it myself.”

The suite’s windows are equipped with locking mechanisms that prevent the window from opening more than eight inches while still allowing for ventilation.

Batson said police officers reassured him that the Yale Police Department would increase its presence in the area to prevent further burglaries. During Tuesday night dinner in Davenport, a police officer made rounds in the dining hall, reminding students to close their windows when sleeping, lock their doors and seek assistance when travelling at night.

The YPD took similar measures during the summer, YPD Sgt. Steven Woznyk said, which led to the arrest of the suspected burglar in Morse. Summer session counselors and participants said they noted an increased police presence in the vicinity of Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges, where summer students were housed, particularly after the string of five burglaries that took place over five days.

Dean William Whobrey, the director of Yale Summer Sessions, said a contributing factor to the burglaries was that students did not lock their doors all the time.

“While the police can do a lot, they can’t do everything,” he said. “Once we were fairly certain a pair of keys had been taken and there might have been compromise of some of the locks, we changed all the locks.”

The YPD also placed officers in the courtyards at all hours, Whobrey said, and the officers were able to identify the burglar based on numerous descriptions by students.

Summer session counselors Chidimma Osigwe ’09 and Esteban Tapetillo ’09 both said the YPD was a little slow to respond aggressively to the first couple of burglaries, but they were ultimately very pleased with the measures taken by the YPD and administrators.

Osigwe said the master of the program sent e-mail alerts to all the students following the burglaries and even warned residents they would be fined if they did not lock their doors.

Kevin Olusola ’10, whose laptop was stolen from his room this summer, said much of the responsibility lies with students, who have to take steps to protect themselves and their possessions.

“Every night I locked [my door] whenever I left the room, but that one day I didn’t lock it, [the burglary] happened,” he said. “You think it will never happen to you, but it will.”

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