Suite burglarized over Spring Break

Imagine coming back from your spring break, opening your door and seeing your valuables gone. That’s precisely what happened to one University Suites resident, according to Northern Kentucky University Police, prompting them to issue a campus-wide crime alert.

“The victim was unsure as to whether or not she locked the door. There were no signs of forced entry and no suspect description is available,” University Police said in the alert. “Students are reminded to keep their room doors locked any time the room is empty or when they are sleeping.”

According to the police report obtained through an open records request, the items stolen included computer and electronic equipment, electronic media and clothing. University Police refused to provide the full police report to The Northerner and the value of the items stolen, saying the information is part of an “ongoing investigation.” The Northerner is appealing that decision.

“We have several leads that we are following up on and are in the middle of our investigation,” said Harold Todd, the University Police chief. “I think we will wind things up by the end of the week,” he added. He declined to make any further comment.

Getting into to someone’s suite should not be easy. University Suites is equipped with swipe card access to the building, each hallway and each site. In addition, all entrances and exits are equipped with motion-detecting surveillance cameras attached to digital video recorders.

Due to this security, Peter Trentacoste, director of university housing, said that it is not likely an intruder from outside the community was able to gain access to the suite. Although that possibility will be fully investigated because an access card could have been stolen.

Giving your card to someone else or failing to report a missing card is grounds for University sanctions.

Unless the suite door was propped open, the only way someone could gain entrance to the suite without force is with his or her swipe card or as a guest of a cardholder. Only suite residents and residential staff have swipe card access to each suite.

The interior door to each dorm room, however, is a traditional lock. According to Kelley Woods, resident hall director of University Suites, students often leave their interior doors unlocked believing the security on the exterior suite door will be sufficient. However, she said, this does provide opportunities for anyone who gains access to a resident’s suite to enter the unlocked room.

If a student or staff member is responsible for the burglary, housing officials have confirmed that he will face full criminal charges as well as University sanctions. As of now, the police have classified the alleged crime as burglary in the second degree. In addition, Trentacoste said that students are held responsible for the actions of their guests.

Students are permitted to stay in the residence halls during spring break. According to Woods, staffing is reduced during the break and no one works the front desk. She said, however, that there is always a Resident Assistant on call even during the break.

Despite this incident, housing officials still believe this is a safe campus and the residence halls are safe.

“I think we are very safe,” Trentacoste said. “We never promise anyone absolute safety