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Residence Hall Windows Sealed to Prevent Theft

In response to the break-ins, windows in Hinton James, Craige, Morrison and Ehringhaus residence halls were sealed with bolts earlier this week, officials said.

Because the burglars entered through windows with air conditioning units in them, all windows with the units have been screwed shut.

"All windows on the balcony sides of the buildings with air conditioning units were bolted," said Rebecca Casey, assistant director of the Department of Housing.

Before the changes, the units obstructed the windows and prevented them from fully locking, Casey said.

Mark McIntyre, captain of investigations with University police, said eight rooms in Craige and Hinton James were burglarized during the four-day break.

"We don't have any suspects yet, but we are following some leads," McIntyre said.

According to an e-mail sent to South Campus residents by Jennifer Lewitas, the area director at Ehringhaus, screws were installed on the top of windows so that they could not be opened from the outside.

Screws were inserted on the outside of the window and two more were inserted from the inside.

Casey said windows with AC units were not bolted prior to the break-ins so that residents could open their windows.

"But I would rather that residents do not take the screws out of the windows," Casey said.

Sophomore Tanner Martin, a resident of Craige, was a victim of the Thanksgiving weekend break-ins. Although nothing was taken from her room, it was almost completely ransacked.

"There was stuff everywhere," Martin said. "I feel a lot better now that my window is bolted."

Martin said that she cannot find the bolts on the inside of the window, but she can see one on the outside of the window.

"There's no way that I can unscrew it from the inside to open my window. So, in case there was a fire and I couldn't get out through the door, I wouldn't be able to get out through the window either," Martin said.

Martin also said that if the burglars returned and had a wrench, she thought they might be able to enter her room again by removing the bolt from the outside.

But Casey said residents should be able to remove the bolts from the inside and that she does think there is a need to educate the residents on the how to operate the newly sealed windows, especially in the case of emergency.

Regardless, Martin said she feels more secure about her belongings because the window is sealed, and she is not worried about leaving for Winter Break.

"If someone wants to get into a room they could just break the window," McIntyre said. "But the bolts are a good idea because it'll make it that much harder for someone to break in."

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