Dorms burgled over winter break

Two Quandrangle dorms, Taub and Settegast, were broken into while getting security upgrades over the break. Residential Life and Housing updated the card scanners and added security cameras starting this semester. | Amanda Scott/The Daily Cougar

Several students whose dorm rooms were broken into over winter break said they are wondering what will happen next.

The burglars entered Quadrangle dorm rooms by removing the vents on the lower half of the doors, said history freshman James Wang whose television was taken in the burglaries.

“(I thought) everything would be safe if I left it here,” Wang said. “Take anything valuable, but if it’s big and you’re coming back, you might as well leave it here. Well they took the TV — so much for secure.”

Students are encouraged not to leave valuables in their rooms over the break, according to a Residential Life and Housing press release.

Campus police suspect that the students’ properties may have been stolen by the contractors who were hired by the University to put safety screws on the vents to keep the rooms from being entered that way, said Cassie Castro, whose Wii was stolen.

“Obviously, this is very concerning, and all of us take safety and security very seriously,” said Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing Don Yackley.

Under normal circumstances, the halls are patrolled by security personnel at night, the release said. But this was not true during winter break.

Campus police have not been keeping in contact with students according to Castro.

“I don’t feel like anything is happening,” she said. “I haven’t heard (from the police) in a long while,” Castro said.

Wang hasn’t heard from the police either.

“I gave my statement to a police officer and haven’t heard back since,” Wang said. “What can you do if you don’t have cameras?”

“The investigation is still active,” said Lt. Bret Collier of the University’s Department of Public Safety. “For that reason the Department of Public Safety cannot comment.”

Residential Life and Housing has been putting up extra security cameras and updating the card readers on the entrance to the halls, according to the press release.

The security upgrades aren’t enough for Wang though, and he is now hesitant to leave his property alone in his dorm over spring break, he said.

“I was going to go fishing or something. Now I’m going to stay here,” he said.

Students like Wang and Castro, who failed to purchase renter’s insurance, were not compensated for their losses, Castro said.

Castro said she didn’t get insurance because “it never occurred to (her) that this might happen.”

Renter’s insurance is not available through the University, but can be purchased from an outside insurance agency, Quadrangle resident assistant Nkechi Nebeolisa said.

This isn’t the first time that Wang has had trouble with break-ins on campus.

“My truck was broken into,” Wang said. “Joke’s on them, I ain’t got nothing of value.”


Additional reporting by Ariana Benavidez.


  • How about, instead of the proposed raise in fees for a new stadium and unecessary items, we use the fee to make our Tier One campus safe and more pleasant. More light post can be added(many more), cameras can be added to dorms, parking lots can be monitored frequently and more. Higher up people care more about a nation-wide status than the well being status of our students. What a shame.

    • Crime is at an all time high for our university, Miguel. I had two bicycles stolen my first semester at the quads two years ago. It is really puzzling that as a Tier One research university that we cannot provide Tier One security to our student body; our leadership needs to change this soon or we will face damaging consequences in the near future. I feel that these burglaries are just the start of a very bad wave of crime in the University area.

  • How about people just stop leaving their valuables in the dorms? Personal responsibility is key in preventing theft. When I lived in the dorms, we were never advised to leave heavier valuables in our rooms over break.

  • I figured it was an inside job. How can the RHA not even take into consideration that outside contractors might steal stuff from the rooms whose vents are being worked on? They should've been monitored at least.

    Of course, you should always take valuables home, but I can see why students would trust leaving items behind in a building that's supposed to be locked down during the break, and only accessible by employees who we thought would be competent to prevent this.

    I'm glad I don't even bother with a TV to begin with, and took my laptop with me. Electronics are probably the most valuable things for most students, next to a mini-fridge.

  • I just didn't leave my valuables here over break. Although if someone wants to steal my minifridge LOL, take it because it's ginormous and really awkward to carry even for a strong man.

  • Does the cost for these outrageously priced dorms include renters insurance? Perhaps UH could use this experience as part of their Fall ad campaign. "Our dorm prices come complete with a Farmer's policy. PLUS they're ALMOST burgler-proof. We're working on it.." I'm not saying that schools aren't sensitive, but did you know that HCC central has had its San Jac Building closed since last Summer so it could bring its interior fire sprinkler system up to code? Yes, that's right. UP TO CODE. Thousands of unsuspecting HCC students had no idea how imperilled they were for years.

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