Students say strangers robbed them after party

Elizabeth Cook

Partygoers beware: Those strangers you let into your house could end up leaving with more than just a hangover.

Julia Jerving, a political science sophomore, learned this firsthand after having a group of guys over Feb. 26 after a party and having almost $7,000 worth of belongings stolen from her and her roommates.

This is a classic case of what happens when people are naïve and trusting, said Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University.

Jerving said she met four men at a party and let them come to her house to call a cab. After calling the cab she heard the front door slam and assumed they left. None of her other roommates were home that night.

From there, no one is quite sure what happened, but Sarah Marks, business sophomore and Jerving’s roommate, said the men must have pretended to leave and then went into her room first to wait for Jerving to fall asleep.

In Marks’ room, they took the time to go through a change jar and take $300 in change, leaving all the pennies behind.

They also stole her laptop, MP3 player, necklaces and pictures of herself.

Meagan Carpenter, a first-year biology student roommate of Jerving and Marks, said she came home to find her bedroom door lock broken and her iPod speakers, a digital camera and $2,000 worth of jewelry gone.

Carpenter said the men also took gum, shoes and a $10 cordless phone.

“They took the most valuable things and anything they needed for their personal lives,” Carpenter said.

Jerving said she woke up in the morning and her iPod was missing, which she saw in her room before going to sleep.

“That’s really scary that I didn’t wake up,” she said.

In the living room, Jerving found backpacks filled with her roommates’ laptops, which the men apparently had forgotten. Police took these for fingerprinting.

When Jerving told one of the men she let stay on the couch what happened, he acted like he had no idea what was going on and that the other men weren’t his friends, she said.

Jerving said he stayed when police arrived the first time, but was in the bathroom the whole time.

Masha Kushnir, an advertising sophomore and roommate of the women, came home when she heard of the thefts.

Kushnir said $200 was stolen from her room.

Police came a second time to document the roommates’ losses, Marks said. This is when the man who stayed over became antsy, gave a different name and called a cab because he wanted to leave, she said.

“He’s in this huge rush to leave all of a sudden,” Marks said.

He gave Jerving the name “Tom Lee,” but gave “Hakim” to the cab company.

He ended up stealing Kushnir’s wallet and leaving, without the cab, right before police arrived, Kushnir said.

“That’s when we figured it out,” Kushnir said.

After leaving their house, Marks said the man went back to Delta Chi and stole more.

Kushnir said she received a call Sunday from the house where the party was saying someone found her wallet, along with their own, under the bathroom vanity. Only her money was missing.

Ron Reier, the public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said the property crimes unit for the 2nd Precinct is working on the case.

Police spend the most time investigating crimes that are random, Reier said, and unpreventable.

“This is about a 100 percent preventable crime,” he said.

Reier said police do get calls like this, but most often from college students.

Other residential neighborhoods have an older setting with more responsibility, Reier said.

Sometimes items get stolen, he said, even when someone is home and no one invited the stranger.