Julie Pike, Editor-in-Chief
Over the past week a series of crimes have been reported across the USM Portland campus, from Woodbury Campus Center to the Science Building.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Feb. 7, Raymondo Rezendes, 48, of Portland, broke into the Woodbury Campus Center. At 4:30 in the morning, both USM police and the Portland Police Department responded to the call of a reported burglary.
Robert Saindon, Interim Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, stated that Rezendes was found inside Woodbury Campus Center. They found damage to one of the entrance doors to the building, as well as the inside doors to the bookstore.
Rezendes was promptly arrested on the charge of Burglary, Criminal Mischief and Criminal Threatening. He was taken to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.
Rezendes was a former USM student who was going for a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. It is unknown whether Rezendes finished his degree.
This incident is one of three recent arrests for Rezendes. Last year he was arrested on Dec. 21 on Forest Ave by Officer Matthew Rider, on a charge of criminal mischief. A month earlier he was arrested on Nov. 25, also on Forest Ave by Officer Blake Cunningham, due to an outstanding warrant from another agency.
No known address was given for Rezendes, however his most recent Facebook posts suggest that he was staying at the YMCA in Portland, as he addressed the center directly.
“Living in the YMCA is a constant barrage of sounds and motions that control my thoughts and actions,” Rezendes stated in a Facebook status made on Dec. 6 of last year. The Portland branch of YMCA is also located on Forest Ave, where his arrests had taken place.
This string of crimes on the Portland campus began two days before the break-in, an incident had also occurred in the office for the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity (CSGD). Students in the CSGD reported that on the evening of Monday, Feb. 5, an older gentleman was taking down posters and flyers and harassing students.
The disruption prompted Fatuma Awale, a student who was working in the CSGD at the time, to call campus security. After they had arrived the man was escorted from Woodbury, only to return two times again that night, being escorted away each time.
Early Tuesday morning the same man had returned and sprayed shaving cream in multiple offices in Woodbury, including the CSGD, the Well and the Multicultural Center, as well as took down more posters.
To add to the string of crimes committed in Woodbury, on the evening of Feb. 8, as assault occurred at the Science Building. USM Police reported that an African-American male approached a female in a hallway on the first floor of the building. He introduced himself to her as “James.”
The man attempted to give her a hug twice, while also asking for her number and to go on a date. The woman tried to avoid hugging him by shaking his hand, but he forcibly hugged her and pressed his pelvic area against her.
She was able to push him away and was escorted by a friend to the USM Public Safety office on the Portland campus. The victim did not sustain any injuries.
Chief Saindon alerted the USM community about this assault through an email titled “timely warning.”
The suspect was described as an African-American male in his early 20s, approximately six feet tall and slender. He was wearing a tan hoodie and a snapback hat, as well as dark sweatpants. They reported that he spoke with a heavy accent.
USM Police are still looking for the suspect and urge anyone with information to contact them at 207-780-5211. In light of these recent events, Saindon also included a list of safety tips for USM students to follow, suggesting that students are accompanied by a friend at night and to use the police escort service if they feel unsafe.
USM students have been kept up to date of these recents crimes with notices from both Chief Saindon and the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, David Roussel over email.
In his email about the break-in at Woodbury, Roussel stated, “Our intent is not to upset community members but rather to provide timely information regarding incidents on our campuses.”