Patrons of the Malkin Athletic Center experienced more than a workout last night when the gym started buzzing with police officers investigating two separate incidents just before 8 p.m.
One person was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery of a police officer, according to Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) spokesman Steven G. Catalano. At around the same time, Catalano said, several female students reported thefts from within the female locker room—but the incidents did not appear to be connected.
When HUPD arrived on the scene at approximately 7:20 p.m. to investigate the reports of thefts, an individual unaffiliated with Harvard—but known to HUPD from incidents—was observed on the premises. According to Catalano, police decided to arrest the suspect for trespassing.
“After being informed that he was under arrest, the suspect assaulted officers in an attempt to flee the building,” he wrote in an e-mailed statement. “A significant struggle ensued involving several officers.”
Catalano said that during the struggle officers used pepper spray to gain compliance from the offender. The suspect is being charged for stealing items from the women’s locker room.
“At this time the HUPD cannot directly connect the trespasser with the thefts,” Catalano said.
David H. Stearns ’07 was at the MAC at the time of the thefts and said patrons were made aware of the situation by an employee.
“One of the MAC workers announced that there had been five thefts and so if you had anything in unlocked lockers, to take it out,” Stearns said.
Stearns, who is also a Crimson editor, said the gym was not very crowded and that few exercisers appeared to be concerned.
“No one showed any visible response of going to the lockers to get anything out,” he said.
Harvard Medical School staff member and MAC patron Hubert J. Park also heard the announcement and said that he was told that the alleged thief had broken several locks in the locker room.
According to Catalano, HUPD is investigating three thefts from lockers in the women’s locker room.
The identity of the offender is not being released until the investigation is complete.
The incidents came after two other thefts were reported at the MAC on Monday, according to the HUPD police log. Those incidents are also still under investigation.
—Staff writer Rebecca L. Ledford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORRECTION Because of an editing error, the Feb. 28 news story "HUPD Faces Assault at MAC" incorrectly said that a suspect apprehended by police was being charged with stealing items from the women's locker room at the MAC. In fact, the suspect is not being charged with stealing the items, and police deemed the two incidents unrelated.