Hollis Hall Students Robbed of Laptop, Walkman

Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. late Monday night, an IBM laptop, a walkman and $10 disappeared from an unlocked Hollis Hall room, in what one of the victims believes was a robbery carried out by a fellow student.

According to Kris K. Manjapra '00, upon returning to his room after 4 a.m., he found the electronic items gone, and the money missing from his ransacked dresser.

"A policeman came over, and he made it sound as if this kind of thing happened often, like it was the work of a professional," Manjapra said. "But it seems like it would have had to be a person who knew I had a laptop and who knew the door would be open. I personally think it was a student."

Manjapra said that he believed that the thief showed unusual attention to detail, removing his computer's Ethernet card and disassembling its power supply before stowing it in his laptop case, crossing the room to take the walkman and searching through the drawers of his dresser.

"He took his time--he had to have been in the room for at least five minutes," he said. "You'd think that someone like this would want to be out of the room as quickly as possible. It's like he knew no one would be back in the room for a little while."

Manjapra's roommate, Bobby V. Dyer '00, said he had left the door unlocked when he left the room, and returned after 2 a.m. to find it locked. Once inside, Dyer said he immediately noticed that his walkman was missing.

"To tell you the truth, the reason we didn't lock the door is that this is the first time I've really felt a fear of theft," Dyer said.

Manjapra and Dyer both ruled out the possibility that the theft was merely a prank played by other students.

"The policeman was pretty clear that it was a professional, someone who does this for a living," Manjapra said. "If any of my friends did this, they're not my friends any more."

Manjapra said that other Hollis residents had reported seeing an adult woman and an adult man with a briefcase in the hallways during the hours in question. He added that he was also seeking information about strangers' "piggybacking" into Hollis by entering behind students using key cards.

Harvard Police Department spokesperson Peggy McNamara said that while dorm room robberies "do happen," the department has not studied the frequency with which they occur in the Yard or other first-year dorms.

"It's not as safe here as I would have liked to think, and it's easy to fall into a false sense of security and think that you can trust the people around you," said Manjapra.

"The person who did this could be someone that I see every day and always smiles at me, and that's frightening," he said