The Bradley bubble has taken a beating the past two weeks. Following the student mugging last Monday, a string of robberies occurred in the residence halls last weekend.
Maggie Kostecki said the experience has left her feeling unsafe and insecure.
The sophomore chemistry major was the victim of one of six robberies last week.
Kostecki said she was visiting her boyfriend in Williams Hall on Friday night. Both her boyfriend and roommate left their wallets in their desk drawers, while she left her clutch on the dresser drawer by the bed, located across the room. When all three woke up, they discovered the wallets and Kostecki’s clutch were missing.
“It’s weird to think a person was gutsy enough to come into the room and take these things with us in there,” she said. “I have a lot of ‘What if’ questions. What if we had woken up with him in the room? Or what if he had a weapon? It makes you feel unsafe.”
Kostecki’s incident was one of three to occur in Williams Hall that night. All happened on different floors of the building.
One student had a similar story. He set his wallet on his desk before going to sleep and found it missing when we woke up the next morning.
Another student left her room to take a shower and found her wallet and key missing when she returned.
A fourth incident occurred in Williams last week when a student reported her wristlet taken from a laundry room. The thief took only the cash and wristlet and slid the rest of the contents under the Residence Adviser’s door, according to police reports.
Two more robberies occurred in Harper Hall Saturday night. The residents of both rooms had stories that matched the residents of Williams. They had all left their wallets on their desks before going to sleep and woke up to find them gone the next morning.
Bradley Police Officer Darmon Swanson said these burglaries are Class 1 felonies and the culprit could receive four to 15 years in jail for each burglary.
He said the best way to prevent thefts such as these from occurring is for students to frequently lock their doors.
“I understand leaving it unlocked when you’re going to the restroom or visiting a friend down the hall, but you should always lock your door and take your key with you,” Swanson said.
He said the student who left her door unlocked while she showered was gone for only 15 minutes when her wallet was stolen.
“[The suspect] is not spending a lot of time in the rooms but are in there for a few seconds to get what they want,” he said.
Swanson said he thinks whoever is committing the crimes has knowledge of the dorms and probably lives on one of the floors.
“These are not isolated incidents,” he said. “It’s the same person. They have to have access to get through the doors and onto the floors.”
Swanson said he thinks the suspect most likely walked through the halls and rattled doorknobs to see if they were locked and entered unlocked rooms.
But Kostecki said she thinks the suspect must have been watching the students.
“How else could he have known that girl left her room to take a shower?” she said.
Kostecki also said a friend lived two doors down and left his room unlocked that night but his things remained untouched.
“But he’s a bigger guy,” she said. “Did the thief know that and know not to go in there?”
Kostecki said she wishes Bradley had better security systems put into place.
“Security makes their rounds on each floor for about 10 minutes or so,” she said. “This [suspect] was observant and sneaky and no one noticed. We should have a check-in system in place like other schools do, or we should have to show our Bradley ID to enter a building.”
She also expressed concern because of the lack of cameras on Bradley’s campus. But Executive Director of Residential Life and Leadership Nathan Thomas said bringing security cameras on campus leads to bigger issues.
“They are a big undertaking and a major expense,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money on upgrading.”
Thomas said typically incidents such as this are uncommon.
“Every couple of years there are a few incidents but I can’t even remember our last one,” he said. “They are uncommon, especially in this number.”
Thomas said he thinks Bradley has done its part in keeping this from happening.
“Externally, we have everything in place, some things are the students’ responsibility,” he said. “We’ve asked all residents to be aware of their surroundings and secure their rooms and personal items.”
Kostecki said this experience has been eye opening.
“We normally lock our door all the time. Now we make sure we do. Nothing feels safe anymore,” she said. “I don’t keep my wallet with me anymore and I just bring my ID to class. I don’t take my laptop to class.”