The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Baker Resident Confronts Thief in Her Room

By Jenny Zhang


This past Sunday, Baker resident Gita Srivastava ’07 walked in on a man attempting to steal from her room, and then chased him partway through the dormitory, where two other students picked up the chase. The two students were eventually able to catch up to the thief and recover Srivastava’s backpack containing her laptop and digital camera. The thief escaped with fifteen dollars in cash.

Nathalie M. Pinkerton ’08, one of the two students who helped pursue the thief, said that she and her roommate Tiffany L. Iaconis ’08 chased the man to the tennis courts along Amherst Alley, where she managed to rip Srivastava’s backpack from him.

Following the attempted theft, Baker house manager Jonathan F. Nolan sent an e-mail to Baker describing the suspect as a white male of age 18 to 25 years with light brown hair, a pimply face, and Irish symbol tattoo on the back of his neck and calf.

The e-mail advised residents not to confront the suspect if they saw him but to call the MIT Police immediately.

Srivastava said the suspect was wearing a bright orange shirt and baseball cap, and appeared to be about 5’10”.

Resident surprises thief

Srivastava said that she confronted the thief in her room after using the bathroom across the hall for less than 5 minutes. She had closed her door but left it unlocked.

At first, she said she was “scared out of my mind,” but became very angry when the man continued to move her belongings into her backpack. She shut the door to prevent him from escaping, and “just started screaming at him.”

Srivastava said that she then realized that it may not have been a good idea to trap the thief with her in the room, but when the thief tried to escape she attempted to prevent him from leaving the room, ripping his shirt in the process.

She said she then chased him through Baker, screaming at him the entire time.

Pinkerton said that she and Iaconis had been doing homework in their room when they heard some “pretty desperate screaming.”

They looked to see what was happening and saw “a guy and Gita chasing him.”

As an afterthought, Pinkerton said that she realized what she had done could have been dangerous, but at the time she “didn’t really think about that.”

Pinkerton is a cross-country runner, and Iaconis is a pole-vaulter.

Srivastava’s roommate, Elizabeth S. Rosenblatt ’07 said that MIT Police had borrowed her printer to check for fingerprints, but “they were too smudged for analysis.” It had been evident that the thief had touched the printer because it had been moved.

Srivastava said she would go today to the police to help create a composite sketch of the suspect.