Two Yard Suites Hit in Late-Night Burglary

An unidentified intruder broke into two suites on the first floor of Holworthy Hall last Thursday, slashing a window screen open to gain entry and stealing two laptop computers, a cell phone, a wallet and a watch.

According to Harvard University Police Department spokesperson Steven G. Catalano, the device used to cut the screen is unknown, and no arrests have yet been made in the investigation.

The Holworthy residents said they realized they had been burglarized in the early morning when Vikas Patel, who lives in one of the two suites, awoke at 8 a.m. to prepare for class. The last suite resident had gone to bed at approximately 4:30 a.m.

“I went to shower, came back out [and] my laptop was gone,” he said.

He thought his roommates had hidden the computer as a joke until he saw that Daisuke Abe’s laptop in the adjoining suite was also missing.

Also stolen from the room were Patel’s wallet and a broken cell phone belonging to Eric Ngeo. In the neighboring suite, a $10,000 Bedat watch owned by Eugene Chung was also missing.

Patel said he thinks the burglar entered one of the two suites through the window and used the connecting hallway to enter the other, finally leaving through Holworthy’s front door. No other screens had been cut.

“We didn’t hear a thing,” he said.

According to Abe, the authorities dusted the windowsill for fingerprints but said he’d heard they had only managed to get one good sample, which they said probably belongs to one of the maintenance staff.

“They said there are many people that might’ve touched that place,” he said.

The residents said they expect to hear the results of the fingerprint tests in four weeks.

Abe’s mouse, which had been unplugged from his laptop, was also taken by HUPD so that its USB cable could be checked for fingerprints.

Abe said that he had been told the broken screen would be replaced on Monday, but it still has not been repaired.

“I feel pretty safe,” he said, “because there’s nothing left to take.”

Summer School Dean of Students Christopher S. Queen said he thought appropriate steps were being taken to respond to the incidents.

“I think students are remaining calm and taking the kind of precautions we’ve already recommended,” he said. “Larceny is always a problem at urban universities.”

Queen said that Yard Operations has made a complete sweep of the Yard dorms to ensure that all first-floor windows will lock at six inches, rather than opening fully. Unlike upperclass Houses, Yard dorms lack iron grates on their windows.

HUPD also held a safety talk last night to give summer school students advice on how to protect themselves from similar break-ins.

“I never thought I’d get robbed at Harvard,” Patel said. “You just assume it’s safe when you hear the name.”

—Staff writer Ryan J. Kuo can be reached at kuo@fas.harvard.edu.