The Boston University Police Department arrested a suspect in connection with recent South Campus break-ins Friday night. The intruder is believed to be the same person who broke into South Campus residences at 96 Mountfort St. and 6 Buswell St. in February.
The suspect had “piggybacked” into the 728 Commonwealth Ave. residence by following a student who had just swiped into the building.
BUPD Chief of Police Kelly Nee said once the student entered the residence, he called BUPD after noticing the man behind him, and the person was apprehended in the building shortly after carrying a pocket knife and hypodermic needles.
“I do think that having the extra patrol in the area allowed the police to get there so quickly,” Nee said, “before this person had a chance to get out of the building.”
Nee said she urges students to remain on guard — investigators are still working to prove the same suspect is responsible for the first two burglaries as well as reported indecent exposure.
“I don’t want people to think the case is solved and everything is great,” Nee noted. “Being mindful of your environment, avoiding letting someone piggyback. If it’s unavoidable, just call us right away and lock the doors when you’re inside the buildings.”
Nee said the identity of the perpetrator would not be released until his arraignment. Nee also said the student who placed the call did everything that was asked of students if they notice suspicious activity.
“Don’t let people piggyback, but if somebody does the same way that this one happened, just call us,” she said. “We don’t want people to confront a stranger in their building.”
BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the incidents were “very disconcerting.”
“It’s something that keeps you awake at night,” he said, “and to know that the likely suspect or suspects involved have been apprehended and be dealt with should give some comfort.”
Riley said he applauded the student who called BUPD as well, noting he had followed the recent guidelines issued from Residence Life on what to do in the event of such situations.
“We indicated the type of behavior that we are concerned with which provided access to student residences or other university buildings,” Riley said. “If you see something, say something.”
Zahra Marhoon, a senior in the College of Engineering and resident of 722 Commonwealth Ave., said she witnessed the arrest taking place next door to her dorm building Friday night.
“I was on my way to get tested at [808 Commonwealth Ave.] and there were a lot of police here,” she said. “There were about five police cars and they were at 728 Comm Ave.”
Marhoon said she still feels “relatively safe” given that she has not been personally affected by any incidents, but wishes other students would be more careful to avoid piggybacking.
“I now pay more attention if I see someone coming in after me,” she said. “I shut the door and have them swipe their ID.”
She added while she has concerns, the incidents have not affected her perception of safety on campus.
“I don’t feel threatened overall,” Marhoon said. “It was just a little shocking to see the guy, but I still feel relatively safe.”