Senior Michelle Pham thought something was amiss when she heard noises coming from the first floor of her house at 350 College Street without her roommates greeting her. Her suspicions were confirmed an hour later when junior Nancy Tran returned to the house to find that her room had been pilfered.
“For some reason—probably a matter of divine intervention—I didn’t open my door as we almost always do 99 percent of the time when we hear one another come home to say hello and to ask about each other’s days,” Pham said. “If I had done that, I would have definitely encountered the thief/thieves who were daring enough to come into our house when there was someone clearly at home.”
After Tran and senior Rokya Samake returned home to find their belongings strewn about or missing, the trio immediately contacted Bates Security.
“They searched our backyard, called the police as back-up and got us to come downstairs and to stay in the Bates Security SUV until the police and Bates Security were able to verify that the thief/thieves were no longer in the house,” Pham said. The Lewiston Police brought in a dog and searched the yard for traces of the thieves. The burglars gained entry through the back door, a door that does not have electronic key card access.
“We believe that’s why they targeted us because our house is right across from Page Hall,” Pham said. “We also thought that it was extremely bold of the burglar to break into the house despite knowing that someone was at home, because they could have just taken the TV and left but they came all the way upstairs into our bedrooms while I was at home.”
Pham was playing music and all of the lights were on in the house at the time of the incident. Two wallets, a TV, and other personal items are missing. “We do not know what they were looking for since what they stole was an unusual assortment of things,” Pham said.
According to Pham, no suspects have been identified and the investigation is ongoing.
Bates Security did not issue an alert to students after the burglary. “Every such instance is evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if a warning should be issued because it is a serious and on-going threat,” Director of Security Tom Carey said. “In this instance, Security called for the LPD to clear the location to be on the safe side.” Since the police searched the area and Bates Security determined there was no active threat to students, an alert was not issued even though the perpetrator is still at large.
“They [Bates Security] came incredibly fast and got us out of the house immediately,” Pham said. “However, we think there needs to be more safety and security measures in the house. The Bates Residence Life Office is taking care of that today—very promptly after the matter.”
Carey reminds students to keep their valuables locked at all times.
“If something doesn’t seem right, call Security [at] 6111,” Carey said.