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Watch your wallet:Wave of thefts hits Irma
Freshman Aris Mantopoulos was once comfortable living on the second floor of Irmagarde Tator residence hall, in what he considers to be a tight-knit community bound by trust.
But recently, he was hanging out in his room with several other residents on the night that more than a $100 went missing from his wallet. According to Mantopoulos, the wallet had been put in the pocket of a pair of jeans, which were lying on his desk. But later that night, a friend delivered the wallet, which had been completely emptied of its cash contents, claiming that she had found it on the stairwell.
“A few dollars at this time in my life is not going to change my life,” Mantopoulos said. “If this person gets caught, they have a reputation of being a thief, so it’s just not worth it.”
According to a student who lives in Irma , the incident is only one of seven thefts to occur over the course of the school year. While the first incidents occurred last semester, they have continued sporadically since.
Only three of the thefts were reported to security, said Chief of Security John Twining.
Freshman Irma resident Eric Ly opened his wallet one night to find that $185-money that he had earned from doing work study-was missing. He filed a report with security. Ly’s roommate, Connor Rasmussen, had $100 stolen from him as well.
A resident assistant was also among the victims, students said.
“It’s like a violation on all of us,” said Jason Krajcik, a freshman also living in Irma. “If it was somebody from the hall it would make it that much worse, because we all have respect for our RA.”
Residents on the second floor of Irma used to leave their doors open without a second thought, but the thefts changed that.
“I bought a safe since that happened,” said Aaron Lewis, who rooms with Mantopoulos.
Greg Madrid, residence hall director of both Irma and Dana Residence Halls, held a meeting in early February after money that the hall collected to buy sweatshirts went missing. Still, some students asserted that this meeting should have happened sooner.
“It should have been an issue as soon as the first person had stuff stolen from him,” Mantopoulos said. “Nothing had been said to us as a hall, as a group, until he (the RA) got money stolen from him.”
After the money was stolen from the RA, security was contacted and the police were brought in to investigate, students said. According to students who attended the meeting, Madrid promised harsh retribution for the perpetrator.
“He said that if [the culprit] was caught, he wouldn’t be a part of the Quinnipiac community anymore,” said Dan Pesino, a freshman Irma resident. “He was really angry about it. He said he was going to try and refund the people who got stolen from.”
Twining said that campus security and the Hamden police are conducting an investigation into the incidents, but he would not reveal any details about the operation.
“Anyone determined to be responsible for committing crimes on campus will be subject to arrest by the Hamden Police and to whatever sanctions the courts may deem appropriate,” Twining said in an e-mail. “They will also be referred to the student judicial system and face such sanctions that are deemed appropriate for the offense.”
Twining urged Irma residents to take precautionary measures to ensure that similar incidents do not occur.
“They need to lock their doors when they are not in their rooms,” Twining said in the e-mail. “They should not allow people they don’t know to enter their rooms. They need to report to the RA or Security any suspicious people or circumstances that they are aware of. They need to be certain that the exterior doors to the residence hall are locked, and not propped open.
“Finally, if they are the victim of a crime, they need to notify Security and request police involvement if they wish,” Twining said.