William Genova ’15 started his Monday by chasing down a burglar.
Genova woke up at 9 a.m, to discover a man — identified by police as New Haven resident Eleam Djamal — in his apartment with his laptop in hand. After being confronted by Genova, the intruder put down the laptop and proceeded to leave the apartment. When Genova started to question Djmal, the burglar threatened violence if he was not permitted to leave, at which point Genova began chasing the suspect.
“[Genova] asked the burglar if he’d taken anything from his apartment,” said New Haven Police Department spokesperson David Hartman in an email. “The crook said ‘no’, and told Genova to let him leave, or face violent consequences.”
According to Hartman, Genova pursued Djamal barefoot over a number of fences and through backyards until the burglar stopped running near the parking lot of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel at 30 Whalley Ave. Hartman added that Genova was yelling as he ran for someone to call the police.
Eventually Genova caught up to Djamal, who claimed to have stolen nothing, handing over a duffle bag to prove that he was telling the truth. As Genova emptied the contents of the bag onto the ground, he flagged down an off-duty NHPD officer. When the officer approached the two, however, Djamal started running again.
The officer eventually apprehended Djamal, who fought until he was subdued by pepper spray. Djamal — a convicted felon in Pennsylvania with a long criminal record of burglaries around the country — later admitted to detectives that he had targeted Genova’s building because he knew that it housed students. Djamal said that he was let into the building by a woman and checked if any of the unit’s doors were unlocked.
Djamal also admitted to robbing a fifth-floor apartment of a laptop on Saturday. Police also determined that the burglar had stolen $40 from Genova’s desk.
Hartman added that police charged Djamal with burglary in the second degree, criminal attempt to commit larceny in the fourth degree, larceny in the sixth degree and threatening and assault on a police officer.