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January 10, 2014

Hitchcock residents report four stolen laptops

Snell-Hitchcock hall

Snell-Hitchcock hall

Jamie Manley / The Chicago Maroon

Four laptop thefts took place in Hitchcock Hall Wednesday around 8 p.m., the second such occurrence in Snell-Hitchcock within the last two years.

“I was here hanging out at eight, and we went out to get shakes because, well, it’s dollar shake day, and we came back at 8:45, 8:50. So 45 minutes later, and it was gone,” said second-year Rachel Ferree. She said that her door was unlocked, which residents said is fairly normal due to the close-knit house culture.

Both Snell and Hitchcock residents reported interacting with a black male in a royal- blue hoodie who knocked on multiple students’ doors asking for Emma Goldberg, a first-year student in Snell, throughout the day Wednesday.

“It’s a little creepy for me because this guy was just walking around asking for me, and it’s a guy that I’ve never seen before,” said Goldberg.

An hour before the thefts were reported, first-year Griffin Cox spoke to the unrecognized individual, who was charging his phone in the Snell Tea Room.

“I asked him, ‘Are you in Snell?’ And he said no. ‘Are you in Hitchcock?’ And he said no. And I said, ‘do you know anyone in Snell or Hitchcock?’ and he didn’t answer. So I was like, ‘you gotta go.’”

The building was outfitted with surveillance cameras and ID scanners on the front doors following similar thefts in October 2012. But there is no front desk security presence at the main entrance to Snell, through which one can access both dormitories without an ID.

“I don’t want them to close the Snell doors, but that might solve the issue, because if everyone went past the front desk like they do in, say, South, then there’s a filter,” said Cox.

A UCPD officer spoke to eight residents within a few hours of the cases having been reported, but did not take formal statements, according to Cox.

“We had eight people in here ready to testify or whatever. He did not want to take our statements. And my RH, Mary, got pissed at him.”

But Ferree said that it was the best outcome of a bad situation.

“To be fair, the reaction time of everyone was great. This experience obviously sucks, but five minutes after I got back, looked for my laptop and Tom [the RH] and the police were already downstairs.”

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