While the alleged perpetrator of one Harvard dorm theft was arraigned Friday in the Middlesex County Courthouse, a new theft committed the previous day remains unsolved: three laptops, a motor vehicle key, and money were stolen from a Cabot House suite.
The car of one of the suite’s residents was stolen and later recovered. The thief was described only as an “unknown individual” in a Harvard University Police Department crime alert.
This latest incident comes just as the district attorney’s office believes it has apprehended Somerville resident Sean Driscoll, the alleged Quincy House burglar who is accused of stealing a laptop from New Quincy last Saturday.
Driscoll arrived in court from custody and entered a not-guilty plea to one count of breaking-and-entering and three counts of larceny, two of which took place at other local universities.
In response, the prosecutor on the case alerted the judge to several outstanding warrants for Driscoll and detailed his lengthy criminal record. Driscoll has defaulted on appearing before court 23 times, has 32 guilty pleas, and has been previously convicted on six occasions, four times of breaking-and-entering and three times of shoplifting, as well as of larceny and trespassing.
Bail was set at $5,000, and Driscoll is due to appear back in court on Nov. 5 for a pre-trial hearing.
Court-appointed defense counsel Donald F. MacLellan said the prosecution’s case was flimsy at best, as it consisted of one positive photo identification out of four witness tests. He called the arrest an example of “rounding up the usual suspects.”
HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano hailed the arrest as “the result of both hard work by detectives and cooperation between several police departments including the Cambridge Police Department and the MIT Police Department.”
Catalano declined to comment further because the case is currently in the judicial system. He would not say whether the DeWolfe burglary last week and the most recent break-in in Cabot are connected to each other.
Driscoll is not being charged with the DeWolfe crime at this time and could not have committed the crime in Cabot, as he was in custody at the time. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW]
Following this spate of crimes, students said they have mixed feelings about Harvard’s ability to protect their property.
Quincy House victim Olivia A. Benowitz ’09 said she was shocked that Harvard had not informed students of the previous burglary at 20 DeWolfe St. before someone broke into her room.
Quadling Aaron R. Scherer ’11 agreed, saying that “it is partially Harvard’s fault,” an opinion echoed by others.
But Cabot resident Zeina Oweis ’11 said HUPD was not to blame, because automatically locking doors should protect property.
But for Benowitz, the doors were not sufficient. She said her door often does not close all the way and Quincy staff had not fixed the problem at the time of the theft in her suite.
In addition, the culprit of the DeWolfe burglary entered that suite through a window.
Despite the current wave of dorm burglaries, students said they would not want the increased security present at schools such as Emerson, Boston University, and Columbia, calling measures like security guards at every entrance, ID checks, and mandatory sign-ins for guests burdensome and implausible.
“It’s not practical because there are so many entryways and entrances [in dorms here],” Oweis said. “I’m always running from one class to another and it’s just so inconvenient.”
—Staff writer Alexander R. Konrad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oct. 5 story, "Quincy Thief Apprehended," erroneously reported that the alleged perpetrator of the Quincy burglary "could not have committed the crime in Cabot, as he was in custody at the time." In fact, he was not in custody at the time. In addition, a subheadline in an earlier version of the article misidentified the crime as a robbery instead of a burglary.