A group of Boston College students found an unidentified man hiding in a bedroom closet in their off-campus house in the early morning hours of Feb. 3. The BC Police Department has since released a Community Awareness Bulletin regarding the incident, which occurred in the Greycliff Road neighborhood of Brighton.
The residents were watching a movie in their living room, when Jess Deagan, MCAS ’20, went downstairs and saw a figure moving into the bedroom of Maria Tavierne, MCAS ’20, at about 1:30 a.m.
Deagan texted her roommates about what she had seen and told them to come downstairs, and they did so, with a boyfriend of one of the residents on the phone and 911 ready to be called. Two of the residents—Veronica Gordo, a former Heights editor and MCAS ’20, and Barrette Janney, The Heights centennial director and MCAS ’20—entered the room.
Gordo used a broom to switch the bedroom light on and to poke the bunched-up covers on the bed in the room to see if anyone was hiding under them. Gordo then turned around to use the broom to check the bedroom closet—which is when she saw a man in a black hooded sweatshirt begin to emerge from behind the wall next to the closet door.
The roommates screamed, ran out of their house, and called the police, who showed up within a few minutes. The police circled the house and found that a basement door in the back of the house, which had been locked earlier that day, was open. They assessed that the burglar likely escaped through it during the period of the time in between the students exiting the house and the police arriving.
The students found a pair of large footprints near the stone wall behind their house, which has led them to believe the burglar hopped over this wall into a wooded area on Brighton Campus when he escaped.
The police said that they found no evidence of forced entry into the house. The residents are unsure of exactly how the man got in, as all of the points of entry in their house had been locked earlier that day.
The students said that, following the incident, their landlord came over and showed them how easy it was to jimmy locks open just by sliding a credit or business card through the door. The detective they spoke with said that a crowbar can be used to do the same thing even more effectively.
The detective also suggested putting wooden bars over their windows and replacing their doors that have windows with windowless ones.
While the burglar would have had to pass by four different bedrooms before entering the room where he was found—and had the opportunity to steal a laptop, a Canada Goose jacket, wallets, jewelry, and other valuable items that were out in the open—the residents said that the only thing stolen was a pair of AirPods.
“[With] laptops, you have to wipe stuff, [and] credit cards, I would have had to just cancel all of them—whereas AirPods, they’re pretty easy, in terms of, he could just slip them in his pocket and doesn’t have to do anything with them,” Tavierne said. “I don’t know if this is true, but maybe [he did it] so that he’d be labeled as a thief and not a sex offender.”
The residents said that the people living in the unit next to them told them they had seen a suspicious person trying to look into their house from the backyard earlier that week, who left in the direction of the woods.
To prevent a future incident from occurring, the students have changed their locks and door handles, began deadbolting their doors, put more lights outside, and implemented a new camera-based security system in their house.
“[We’ve been] telling everybody to be really careful, especially with knowing about how you have to always deadbolt, and not just do the one little knob, because that can be easily opened,” Tavierne said.
The BCPD bulletin released after the incident encourages students to keep their doors and windows—including those on patios and upper floors—locked at all times, keep ladders and similar items secured and away from their residence, be aware of their surroundings, get to know their neighbors, avoid leaving valuables in plain view of windows, and immediately report suspicious activity to the police.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff