The USM Police issued two warnings over the summer regarding suspicious people found in dorms.
Though most USM students leave the dorms at the end of the spring, the buildings are not empty.
Several high school programs house students in dorms.
In late July a man was discovered in the female shower room on the third floor of Gorham’s Woodward Hall while high school girls were showering.
The man had been carrying trash bags, possibly attempting to pose as a custodian, according to USM Police Detective Sergeant Ron Saindon.
It’s not known for sure how the man gained entry to the building, but he could have been let in by an unsuspecting Outward Bound student, said USM Police Chief Lisa Beecher.
A safety alert was posted the next day on the USM List serve describing the intruder as a white male, 25 to 35 years old, 5’8″ to 5’10”, with dark hair, a possible moustache and wearing a baseball cap.
Police questioned two individuals about the incident. According to Detective Sergeant Saindon, no one could be positively identified because the intruder was wearing a cap. “This person was someone that didn’t want to be seen,” said Saindon who feels the intruder was there to take advantage of valuables stored in unlocked rooms.
Though no charges were filed, the police served one person with a trespass notice, prohibiting him from returning to any USM property on either campus.
That wasn’t the summer’s only scare.
Another incident took place in Portland Hall on July 29. An unknown male was noticed in the dorm’s laundry room. When questioned by a Portland Hall resident, the person swiftly left the building. Though the person acted suspiciously, he did nothing illegal, according to police.
Again it is not known how the intruder got into the Portland dorm, but police officials suspect someone may have unknowingly let him in.
These types of incidents are not new to USM.
Last spring, over a dozen female students reported being harassed by a Utah man accused of of stalking with a history carrying concealed weapons. The police were able to identify him and serve him with a trespass notice. There were no complaints of violence.
In these situations warnings were posted around campus to make students and staff aware of possible danger. Some members of the community who have continued to notice warnings of this nature have expressed concern for the safety of students.
“We could be a lot safer on campus with a little preparation,” said staff member David Andreasen. He mentioned that many stalkers are attracted to college campuses because of the young females.
According to Andreasen, at the time of the Woodward Hall incident, a teen cheering conference and a music camp were taking place on campus.To Andreason the events seemed more alarming because there was a large number of teenage girls on campus that particular week.
“They know the campuses are here,” said Andreason. “Keeping students forewarned and prepared will keep it from happening.”
According to Detective Saindon there is a very safe security system on campus.
However, such things as propping doors while moving and lending keycards to guests can result in easy entrances to buildings by people that don’t belong there.
“We have one of the best systems anywhere with the keycards,” said Saindon, “but the security is only as good as the people who support the system.”