Unlocked rooms assist thieves

 — Mauricio Gutierrez/TRUMPET
— Mauricio Gutierrez/TRUMPET

In the wake of a female student reporting an unknown man in her dorm room, Wartburg Security is stressing the importance of keeping dorm rooms locked.

The female student who reported the intruder last week was not harmed nor reported any items missing, but it was enough for John Myers, director of Wartburg security and safety, to send an email out to the student body, alerting them to the possibility of intruders or burglars.

“I took this incident as a good excuse to advise students to lock their doors,” Myers said.

Myers said locking dorm doors is important because it not only protects students, but their property as well.

Myers said the number of intruders has been few over the years but still exists.

“I’ve been here since 1997, this may be only the second or third time that somebody has reported that somebody has been in their room that they didn’t know or didn’t invite in,” he said. “It’s a very rare occasion.”

Myers said the young woman came back to her room in the Manors, went into the restroom and when she came out, witnessed a man walk out of the room. The intruder did not speak to her at any point. The student declined to comment to the Trumpet.

“She didn’t recall him being in there when she came in, but she didn’t hear him come in either. It’s not that we think there is anything wrong to scare any students,” Myers said.

The communal lifestyle of college with students coming in and out of others rooms is to be expected, Myers said, but students need to not be as trusting.

“To be truthful, my thoughts, not that we aren’t concerned with the safety of students, but where we have had problems is where students leave doors unlocked and stuff has disappeared,” he said.

There have been eight reported thefts from unlocked residence halls from January to September of this year, Myers said. Myers strongly recommended students especially lock their rooms while they are asleep at night to prevent burglaries.

“Over the years, we’ve had two or three people that have reported that somebody has gone into their rooms while they are asleep, stolen items and never woke them up,” he said.

Wartburg student Olivia Barnes had just such an experience her first year. An intruder entered her dorm room while she was asleep and stole her MacBook laptop.

“I was in shock. How could someone feel comfortable enough to just walk into someone’s room and take something there,” Barnes said. “It wasn’t even the fact that they took something. It was just the fact that they were there in the first place, without me knowing.”

If a student encounters a stranger in their room, Myers said they should immediately call Wartburg Security.

If property is stolen, students can file a report with campus security and the Waverly Police Department.

“I think it’s pretty scary knowing that people think it’s OK to intrude on others’ space,” said Kennedy Haut.

As for now, Myers said though the situation was rare, it provided a teaching point for students.

“I did not mean to send the notice out to scare people. It is just to make them more aware,” Myers said.  “If there was a situation, not that we’d want to scare people, but where there would really be concern, we would send out a Wartburg Alert as soon as we knew that there was a danger.”

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