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A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the phone number for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. The story has been modified to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
A male intruder entered two unlocked student apartments early Sunday morning, bringing the total number of similar cases to four since Friday.
Chapel Hill police spokesman Lt. Kevin Gunter said investigators aren’t sure if the suspect is the same person who entered the houses of two groups of students early Friday morning on Church Street and Pritchard Avenue.
“It could be the same person, we just don’t know,” he said, explaining that the descriptions for the intruder were slightly different in the later incidents.
Junior Rylan Miller, who lives in the B building at Mill Creek Condominiums, said she first noticed someone tapping her leg around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Miller is a staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel, and her police report has not yet become public.
“I opened my eyes and I looked over, and I saw that there was someone standing there,” she said. “I didn’t move at first.”
When she did sit up, the man calmly left.
“The guy walked nonchalantly out of my room and out of my front door, and so I got up and I went to the front door and locked it immediately,” Miller said.
Miller said she and her roommate are typically careful about locking their door, but Saturday night they had guests who came in and out of the apartment.
The second incident occurred in the E building at Mill Creek at 7:15 a.m. Sunday and was also the result of an unlocked door.
The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said she woke up to a man with his hand underneath her covers, touching her leg.
The victim said she immediately grabbed a knife she keeps by her bed, sending the intruder running. She said she continued to chase the man outside when she saw him looking through her window.
Both students described the intruder as a black male, as did the two previous reports. Miller described the man as college-aged.
In all four cases, the women delayed filing police reports until hours after the incident, reducing the likelihood the suspect can be quickly found, Gunter said.
“They need to contact us as soon as possible,” he said. “We want to get this guy before it escalates.”
Miller said she waited because she thought the intruder may have been someone who wandered into the wrong apartment.
“I was so delirious and tired I didn’t even think that it had been something that happened to other people over the weekend,” she said.
The second victim said she initially thought the incident was a prank.
Alyson Culin, director of development and marketing for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, said students should trust defensive instincts if faced with a similar situation, but not all safety tips are going to work in all situations.
“If you don’t do one of them that doesn’t make it your fault for something happening,” she said. “An unlocked door is not an invitation for someone to come in.”
If caught, Gunter said the intruder could be charged with felony breaking and entering or burglary.
If the intruder touched a woman, he could also be charged with felony assault and battery.
The rape crisis center can be reached at 1-866-935-4783.
Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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