First-floor suites are coveted for the easy access they provide to students — not thieves.

A Piersonite received a rude awakening at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday when he heard rustling in his suite.

A brief confrontation ensued in which a male intruder, claiming to have a gun but never flashing it, demanded money from the unidentified male student, University spokesman Tom Conroy said Sunday.

The student, who was alone in the room, handed over about $10 and began to shout for help. The panicked intruder then allegedly leapt out of the same window he had used to enter the suite, fleeing into the Pierson courtyard, Conroy said.

The student avoided injury, and police quickly arrived at the scene. They canvassed the area but were unable to recover the lost money or locate the suspect.

Police believe the burglar did not directly enter the room from the street but had managed to slip past the locked college gates and into the courtyard, Conroy said.

University Police Chief James Perrotti was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The thief, described as being in his 20s, was seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt that obscured his face.

Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt informed students of the intrusion via e-mail Saturday morning.

Students living in other first-floor rooms in Pierson had mixed reactions to the incident.

Troubled by the burglary, Julie Stein ’03 said she and her suitemates often use their window facing the courtyard to climb into the common room when they are locked out.

“I would gladly give that up to make sure no one gets in,” Stein said, adding that the windows in their suite are so old that the locks do not function properly.

Stein knows about the potential for crime on campus — a thief pilfered a computer from her room in Lanman-Wright during her freshman year.

Aaron Lemon-Strauss ’03, another first-floor resident, said he was unfazed by the incident, especially because he and his suitemates put new locks on their windows.

“Maybe we’re just being naive though,” Lemon-Strauss added.