Four senior woodframes were broken into this past weekend in separate but seemingly related incidents. In two of the four cases, students discovered one of the suspects while he was still present in their homes. That suspect is described as a tall African-American male between the ages of 25 and 35.

Two of the four weekend burglaries occurred on Friday night—one on Knowles Avenue and another on Home Avenue. A third burglary occurred Saturday night on Home Avenue, and a fourth on Sunday night on Pearl Street. The suspects apparently entered the residences by cutting through window screens.

“Me and my housemate [Jason Reif ’09] came home around two [a.m. early Sunday morning] and saw that the window fan in our dining room had been pushed down and the screen on the window had been cut,” said Jesse Rosenthal ’09, resident of 44 Home Ave. “I went upstairs and saw that my laptop was missing and two of my other housemates’ laptops were missing.”

After calling 911 and further searching the house, Rosenthal discovered the suspect hiding in the closet of his bedroom holding two laptops. The man ran past him but dropped the laptops when Rosenthal pushed him into a wall. While Rosenthal checked to make sure the laptops were not broken, the suspect ran down the stairs where Reif attempted to grab hold of him. The man broke from Reif’s grip by throwing him against a wall and ran down the street.

“I ran downstairs and saw [the man] run out of the house, so I jumped over Jason, who was on the floor, and I chased him down Home Avenue,” Rosenthal said. “I chased him all the way down the hill but he just peeled off toward High Street and disappeared.”

While the suspect did not appear to have any stolen items with him when he escaped, a laptop and two iPods were still missing from the house.

“The back door was open, so there was probably someone waiting in the back door, and they were just handing stuff off,” Rosenthal said.

Public Safety released an advisory yesterday afternoon mentioning a second suspect, a 25 to 30 year old Caucasian male of medium build, who had been seen in the burglarized areas.

“It’s a little disconcerting,” Reif said. “We all have a heightened sense of paranoia right now.”

Public Safety advises students to use window locks and stops, to make sure that all doors are locked and to report any nonfunctional security hardware to Physical Plant.

“This is an unusual occurrence and we’re taking many steps to work these cases and identify the subjects involved,” said Directorof Public Safety David Meyer. “Most burglaries [on campus] are through unlocked doors when no one is around. We’re concerned about these because in all cases they cut a screen to get into a window.”

Rosenthal and Reif hoped that these events will encourage the implementation of improved security measures.

“I think Public Safety should step up patrols on weekend nights,” Rosenthal said. “Naturally, college students are probably not going to be home on a Saturday night. It’s just common sense.”

Reif agreed with Rosenthal.

“I’m hesitant to say I want a greater presence of Public Safety, but that would probably be reassuring,” Reif said.

Rosenthal and Reif would also like to see more motion sensor lights, lockable windows, screen door and window replacements and an insurance policy that covers goods inside of woodframe homes as part of the housing contract seniors sign.

Meyer emphasized more basic precautionary measures.

“I want students to be aware, to make sure they’re locking their doors and reporting suspicious people,” Meyer said. “But I want to emphasize that this is very unusual.”

Public Safety and the Middletown Police Department are currently working together to identify the suspects, conduct directed patrols in the burglarized areas and prevent future break-ins. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Public Safety at (860) 685-2345 or the Middletown Police at (860) 344-3200.

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