In the latest string of burglaries of campus dormitories, students in Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges have reported five instances of theft or attempted theft in the past week.
Two first-floor rooms in Silliman were burglarized Monday night, Silliman Master Judith Krauss wrote in an e-mail to Silliman students. These burglaries occurred hours after YPD Chief James Perrotti sent out a campus-wide alert about two weekend room thefts in Timothy Dwight.
These and other recent thefts have prompted the YPD and the University to increase its security presence in recently affected areas, YPD Sgt. Steven Woznyk said. Students interviewed in Timothy Dwight said they plan to take extra precautions to protect their belongings in light of the recent thefts.
During the Monday vandalisms in Silliman, the burglar likely entered the first suite through an open window and proceeded to enter the second suite through its unlocked door, Krauss said in her e-mail. The e-mail did not specify what was taken or how many students were affected.
Like the Silliman thefts, the Timothy Dwight burglaries on Sunday and Thursday did not involve forced entries, Woznyk said.
In the incidents detailed in Perrotti’s e-mail, the victims of the thefts actually saw the perpetrator, according to the alert.
“The most recent incident occurred in Timothy Dwight College Sunday morning at 4:42 when a person was found in the common area of a suite,” Perrotti said in his e-mail. “He is described as African American, approximately 22 years old, 5’7” to 5’9” tall, scruffy facial hair, close cropped hair, thin build, weighing 160 to 180 lbs., wearing a red oversized shirt.”
During the first of the two Timothy Dwight incidents described in Perrotti’s e-mail, Woznyk said the student left the room for a few minutes and returned to find the man described in the e-mail in her suite. After the thief left the suite, the student reported the incident to the YPD, Woznyk said. The second student who reported seeing the alleged burglar was in his room when he looked up and saw the man, but did not think it was of any importance, Woznyk said. The student later found that there was money missing from his wallet, Woznyk said, but did not report the incident right away.
Because of the delay in reporting the second theft, Woznyk said, the officers at the scene of the first burglary were not made aware that there had been two separate events until they had already left.
He said it would have been beneficial to know that there were multiple instances of reported theft during the initial investigation.
“One thing we want to reiterate is if someone sees something suspicious or someone in your suite, they should call the police right away,” he said.
Woznyk said Yale Police were able to make an arrest for an attempted burglary at Morse College on Oct. 2, for example, because students were quick to report the incident and the police could apprehend New Haven resident Jonathan Moore, 34, as he was making his getaway from Morse.
According to YPD crime logs, another burglary took place in Timothy Dwight last Thursday. Woznyk said the reporting parties were not able to identify a perpetrator, though they were in the room at the time of the theft. Woznyk stressed that the students who were robbed were only missing a “small” amount of money.
In an e-mail sent Monday afternoon, Timothy Dwight Master Robert Thompson reminded his students to “treat your suite door as the door to your house, keeping it shut and locked,” a sentiment echoed in e-mails sent by both Perrotti and Krauss as well.
Thompson also said there would be increased security personnel assigned to Timothy Dwight to prevent future burglaries, which University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith confirmed Monday.
But Woznyk said there will not necessarily be personnel stationed only in Timothy Dwight, but that both Yale Security and the Yale Police would start increasing its presence around Timothy Dwight and wherever else they find increased attention necessary.
Students interviewed in Timothy Dwight said they have learned to be cautious — sometimes the hard way.
Nate Gould ’10, who has recently had money stolen from his room, said he thinks it was robbed from his desk while he was sleeping. But as of presstime, he had not yet reported the theft to the YPD or University officials.
Other students said they are trying to be more careful about locking their doors even if they think the adjustments are an inconvenience.
“When I go running, I don’t like to take my keycard with me, and it’s really annoying to have to wait for someone to let me in the entryway,” Harrison Marks ’10 said. “The situation is kind of ridiculous, but it’s understandable that we have to take extra precautions.”
Despite a controversy over racial descriptions of perpetrators in one of Perrotti’s 2005 e-mails, members of the Black Student Alliance at Yale said they were not bothered by the police chief’s choice to identify the alleged perpetrator as “African-American.”
In a campus-wide e-mail in October 2005, Perrotti described an alleged street robber as a “black male in his late teens or early twenties.”
Perrotti later apologized for his description at a meeting with members of BSAY, who said the description was unnecessary and derogatory.
“There’s a difference between saying the perpetrator was a black person, period, and using African-American as part of a string of descriptions,” BSAY President Kristian Henderson ’09 said.
Three weekends ago, Timothy Dwight was struck by three burglaries. Rooms in Davenport College and Berkeley College were also robbed in non-forcible burglaries earlier this year.
According to the Yale University Report on Campus Security, there have been 78 reported campus burglaries through August 2007, compared to 99 during the entire 2006 year.