Alleged dorm room burglar charged with 2 counts

K.C. Howard

A 22-year-old man who allegedly sneaked into students’ dorms and stole thousands of dollars worth of laptops, cell phones and credit cards was charged Thursday with two counts of burglary.

St. Paul resident Timothy Herman Hoper was arrested Monday inside Territorial Hall after University police found several students’ identification and credit cards in his possession, according to the criminal complaint.

Although Hennepin County Attorney Andrew LeFevour only charged Hoper with two counts of burglary, police said he matches the suspect description for a rash of recent residence hall burglaries.

According to police documents, the thefts occurred in Territorial, Sanford and Centennial residence halls.

University freshman Natalia Spinelli said she saw Hoper in her room Oct. 1 but did not report him because she assumed her roommate knew him.

She said he introduced himself as “Jameson” and shook her hand. She said she then went to shower, and when she returned she saw “Slut don’t shower” written on the door.

She said she then noticed her $2,600 laptop, credit card, $350 in cash and other items missing.

Spinelli said many of her friends in Centennial Hall had also seen Hoper.

“He had knocked on their doors and if they answered the door, he would say he was looking for ‘Katie’ or ‘Kristin’ – the name would change every time,” she said. “On Thursday, this girl was giving a tour and found him on the second floor of Centennial, sleeping in an empty room.”

When Spinelli called police after the incident, she said she didn’t get much of a response.

“The police took it as ‘something that happens all the time,’ ” she said.

Only after she took matters into her own hands and found phone calls Hoper had made on her cell phone was Spinelli able to get Hoper’s name and report it to the police.

Investigators interviewed the individuals Hoper had called and found that Hoper had tried to sell Spinelli’s laptop for $80, according to the criminal complaint.

“The defendant told (an individual) how easy it was to steal things from the dormitory rooms on campus,” according to the police report.

One week after Hoper allegedly stole from Spinelli’s room, University police identified Hoper in Territorial Hall with Spinelli’s and other students’ credit cards in his possession.

Hoper has an extensive criminal history in Hennepin County, including terroristic threat, credit card fraud and burglary charges.

Hoper is no longer in custody and is expected to appear in district court this week.