Students report 29 thefts, burglaries in U dorms since fall

Despite security improvements, thefts in residence halls are still common.

Students report 29 thefts, burglaries in U dorms since fall

Jenna Wilcox

Living in close quarters in a University of Minnesota residence hall or apartment with a large number people means many students experience theft and even burglary — which involves trespassing.

University police shows that theft on campus has declined over the years, but many incidents still go unreported. Since the beginning of fall semester, 29 thefts and burglaries have been reported in residence halls.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said some students might be hesitant to report thefts because they might want to handle it informally or believe nothing can be done.

Though residence halls have made security improvements over the years with door alarms, security cameras and card access, thefts still occur among residents who live in the buildings.

John Thole, a biology freshman who lives in Territorial Hall, said he thinks it’s very easy for people to take things from dorm rooms.

“People can just sneak in, take stuff quickly and leave,” he said.

At the beginning of the year, Thole said he would leave his room unlocked if he knew he was only going to be gone for a few minutes.

One night in November, his roommate went to the bathroom and left the door unlocked. When he came back, a man was in the room.

His roommate shooed the intruder from the room, but Thole realized a few days later that his iPod Touch was stolen, along with $80 from his wallet.

Thole reported the incident and found out a few weeks ago that the police found the thief and that Thole would be reimbursed for the items taken. The police also told him the intruder stole from other people in his hallway that same night.

“If he pays off what he stole from people I guess it’s going to lessen his charges,” Thole said.

Jameson Macgregor, who lives in the same hallway as Thole, didn’t get anything taken that night, but his wallet was stolen early last Friday morning.

Macgregor, a freshman, said his roommate left the room around 3 a.m. to visit a friend and left the door unlocked.

When Macgregor woke up the next morning he realized his wallet was gone. He said he thought it was misplaced at first, but when he checked his bank statement, $350 had been spent at Target.

The thief also stole his roommate’s card and spent about $650.

“It’s just been a huge hassle trying to get everything back,” Macgregor said. “[I felt] kind of rattled because nothing like that had ever happened before.”

Cellphones, iPods, computers, wallets and more have all been taken from residents this year.

Hank Glover, a history freshman, said he even had his chair nabbed out of his room in Pioneer Hall while he was away for a few minutes.

Many residents also find their things are taken from people they know.

Max Hendrix spent Saturday night at his fraternity. When he returned, he found his roommate hosting a party in their room in Frontier Hall.

Hendrix decided to stay in a friend’s room that night, but the next morning he returned to find two bottles of cologne had been swiped from his room.

“It’s unsettling that I can’t trust my roommate to have people in my room,” he said.

Hendrix said he’s now questioning the level of trust that most people seem to have of others in the dorms.

“If I wanted to steal something from somebody, it would be pretty easy,” he said.

Miner said a roommate is actually a suspect in about half the cases, but students can still keep belongings protected by putting them in a safe space.

“I’m definitely being more careful with my valuables,” Macgregor said. “Be mindful that you can’t trust everyone.”