Burglary, car theft, prowler alarm off-campus students

By The Beacon | October 13, 2010 9:00pm

It’s not clear if incidents are related

By Laura Frazier, Staff Writer -- frazier13@up.edu

Over the past three weeks, at least one UP student living off campus has reported a burglary, and others have repeatedly seen a suspicious person hiding in bushes and peering in windows.

Senior Alma Madrial had her house on North Willamette Boulevard broken into on the morning of Sept. 27. Her housemate's car was stolen as well.

Madrial said that the burglar tore the screen off a window and used a chair to get inside, then grabbed iPods, credit cards and pots and pans before finding her housemate's car keys and stealing the car. The burglar also took a bike.

In the morning, Madrial came downstairs and was shocked at the damage. She estimates the overall loss to be at about $1,700. Fortunately, the car was found abandoned a few days later. Madrial does not know where it was founded.

Though none of the inhabitants woke up during the break-in, one of Madrial's roommates does remember hearing something.

"One of our roommates did hear someone moving around," she said. "But there are so many of us you get used to people coming in and out of the house all the time."

They called Portland Police and were advised to lock all the doors and windows. Also, they were told to remember to close the blinds and leave a light on at night to deter another break-in.

Inhabitants of a house near North Portsmouth Avenue and North Harvard Street have recently reported seeing a suspicious man in the area.

Sophomore Kollin Wadsack, who does not live at the residence, first saw the figure of a head looking in the window last Wednesday. The figure was hiding in the bush outside the window.

He said it was a white male, probably in his mid-20s and 5'10'' with short dark hair.

Sophomore Ryan McLaughlin, who is a resident of the house, alerted the neighbors. The neighbors then said that they had previously seen a man outside late at night but assumed it was someone the residents knew.

They asked that the neighbors alert them if they saw him again.

Then last Saturday, the housemates saw a suspicious, large van parked outside the house.

This caused junior Renata Fusso to call 911. As a police car arrived on the scene to check out the car, Fusso's neighbors ran up to the house to say they saw a man in their backyard staring in the windows.

McLaughlin said that since then, they have increased the security in the house by adding new locks and alarms on the windows.

Portland Police said they would increase patrols in the surrounding area and advised them to not confront the person if he returns, in case he is armed.

Fusso is comforted that the police are aware of the situation, but the problem is still on her mind.

"I feel a little better that we are more protected now," she said. "But I don't think I'll feel completely normal till he's gone."

It is unknown if the robbery and prowler situations are related.

Harold Burke-Sivers, Public Safety director, says safety checks are available for off-campus students who request it.

"Every year I come out and do a complete walk through inside and outside the house," he said. " I would be happy to do that for any student."

Burke-Sivers said that students should call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious.