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McCormick Intruder Arrested after Trespassing for 20 Minutes

By Sarah Y. Keightley
Editor in Chief

Late Sunday night an intruder made his way into McCormick Hall and wandered around the dormitory for about 20 minutes before being arrested in the lobby at 1:10 a.m.

Apparently the intruder entered the dormitory by following students ahead of him, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. This is "something we refer to as a train," she said.

The two residents who accidently let the man in "each thought the other was friends with him. Only when he got inside did they realize that no one knew him," said a resident who did not want to be identified.

The resident said that the man went around the fifth floor once or twice, then came to her room on the sixth floor and asked for scissors to cut something off of his pants. After he returned the scissors, he asked for a knife, even a butter knife. When she refused to give him one, he made a lewd remark, then left, she said.

The resident and her roommates immediately reported the incident to the floor tutor. By then the man had already been detained downstairs.

The Campus Police arrested him, charging him with trespassing. It is "hard to know" what his motive was, Glavin said. "Fortunately he was apprehended before he did anything."

Joe McCarthy, the security guard who patrols McCormick at night, said that at about 1:10 a.m. two residents and a male student came down to the lobby and told him that at 12:50 a.m. a man in army fatigues had entered the dormitory behind them.

McCarthy had been patrolling nearby Green Hall, an all-female graduate student dormitory, at the time the man entered McCormick.

McCarthy said he notified the Campus Police and his supervisor right away. Then the suspect came down from McCormick's east tower to the desk. McCarthy described the individual as a white male, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, and having a slim but strong build.

The man did not know what building he was in, McCarthy said. While McCarthy was questioning him, he "started getting irate," McCarthy said. Then the Campus Police came in and arrested him.

The prowler claimed he was looking for a resident, and gave a fictitious name, Glavin said. He also picked up two plastic containers of food in the building, she said.

The Campus Police knew he had gone to the third floor because he had taken a tupperware container with food, which had a resident's name on the lid, and put it in his pocket, said Emy J. Chen '98, who lives in McCormick. He had taken the container from an open kitchen, not from the resident's room, Chen said.

Chen also said that the man used the stairs instead of the elevator, and when he was on the sixth floor he had a glass of water.

Safety emphasized

Glavin stressed that students have to be careful to see if anyone is following them when they enter dormitories. "As this case shows, if you use your card [key] to go in, you shouldn't let someone trail in behind you."

Though McCormick residents received notices in their mailboxes telling them to be careful when entering the building, "I don't think too many people were terribly concerned - that's my general impression," said resident Denise A. Garland '95.

"One of the reasons why people might not be so alarmed in this case is people did realize something was wrong the Campus Police and Night Watch did their job," said McCormick House Master Charles Stewart III.

Stewart did say "I think a number of students are concerned about [the incident]."

Glavin said that the Campus Police have arrested trespassers in dormitories before. However, the number "of incidents that have occurred over the years is down since the MIT Card [including the card-key system] has been in use," she said. The card-key system "does provide a higher level of security for students," she said.

Last year a male was walking around McCormick at night, checking for unlocked doors, according to some residents and McCarthy. He was able to open a door to a room where a woman was sleeping. Another student saw this and reported it to McCarthy.

This man was never found, though he could have been another resident's acquaintance, McCarthy said.