Sticky fingers: Students protect from theft – and Spiderman – in WSU residence halls

He awoke in his room to the sight of a masked figure holding his laptop. Spiderman, it seemed, had entered through an open door.

An individual donning a Spiderman Halloween mask was reported to have stolen the student’s laptop in the middle of the night.

The victim of the theft, which took place last year in Rogers Hall, was a friend of senior English major Susan Roberts.

“He never got his laptop back because Spiderman was too fast,” Roberts said.

Theft is the most common crime that takes place in WSU residence halls, said Edwin Hamada, the director of Residence Life.

The department works with WSU Police to provide a secure environment for students.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Hamada said.

It’s not uncommon that students lose a few dollars after leaving their door open, making it easy for someone to walk in and take something, he said.

For students with roommates, Hamada recommends regular communication and a good relationship to avoid becoming victims of thievery. He said it’s about engaging in the community.

“It’s about Cougs looking out for Cougs,” he said. “That really is a mantra that I think people are hopefully taking a lot more serious.”

Local law enforcement abides by a similar mantra. In addition to emergency calls, the WSU Police Department sometimes patrols the residence halls to establish good relations with students, Assistant Chief Steve Hansen said.

“Just because we’re there doesn’t mean something bad is going on,” Hansen said.

Like Hamada, Hansen recognizes that not everyone likes to play by the rules.

“Even though the buildings are secure and very, very safe, many of the crimes are crimes of opportunity, like theft,” he said.

Hansen urged students to lock their doors and take their keys with them when they leave their rooms.

Seth Christianson, a freshman mechanical engineering major, has heeded Hansen’s suggestion. Christianson, who lives at Gannon-Goldsworthy, said he has no complaints, not even about his roommate.

“I trust him,” he said. “I hope I trust him.”

Christianson said he feels comfortable living in Gannon, noting much of the theft in the building takes place on other floors. He said stolen clothes occasionally cause commotion.

“All I know is laundry is an issue, but that’s about it,” he said.

Sophomore communication major JoAnne Grogan said she has had a less-than-pleasant experience in Gannon-Goldsworthy.

“I didn’t feel too safe last year,” she said.

Grogan said things got out of hand last spring when resident advisers from Orton Hall substituted for those from Gannon-Goldsworthy, who had left for a retreat.

“There were some guys who were pretty drunk and broke into a couple of girls’ rooms,” Grogan said. “I was like, ‘this is a little nerve-racking.’”

Grogan now lives in Orton and said her new accommodations are free of ruckus.

Roberts, whose friend had his laptop stolen by Spiderman last year, said the idea of not locking her door is dumbfounding.

“I came from a neighborhood where you lock your door and your windows, and you put a wooden plank in the sliding door,” she said. “It’s really weird to see people not lock their doors.”