Police investigate trespass, ask residents to help identify suspect

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State Police are investigating a series of reported incidents of criminal trespass in the same residence hall on campus over the past month. Most recently, it was reported that on Oct. 21 an unknown male entered the second floor women’s restroom in Simmons Hall. This person also was observed by a witness on the all-female floor in the hallway near an elevator. Other reports of similar incidents from earlier in October also have recently surfaced.

In the Oct. 21 incident, two female students reported that the male suspect had what appeared to be a recording device and was trying to take pictures or videotape the restroom area. The students described the suspect as a pale white male, slender build, medium height with brown hair, acne and a prominent Adam's apple (see sketch).

As part of the ongoing investigation, University police officers have talked with about 70 residents of Simmons Hall and on Thursday, several floor meetings were held for residents of the hall to provide them with accurate information on the incidents and what is being done in response. Police also answered questions from residents and gave additional security tips and strategies for remaining safe.

Routine building checks by University Police on patrol in Simmons Hall have been increased and police are now circulating a composite sketch of the suspect in an attempt to alert residents and identify the individual. Many buildings and areas of campus have surveillance cameras in place, but for privacy reasons bathrooms do not contain cameras.

Safety information provided by police includes a reminder to residents to not allow others to follow them into their residence hall without swiping their identification card (also known as piggybacking).

University Police also remind the community to:

  • Never prop doors to residence halls open.
  • Follow the escort policy for visitors in your residence hall.
  • Always lock residence hall room door.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • If anyone sees suspicious people anywhere on or near campus, call University Police at (814) 863-1111 or 911 immediately.

Police are relying on the alertness of residents to provide more information about these incidents and are asking the Penn State community to report any suspicious behavior to them at (814) 863-1111. Anyone with information about this incident or other similar incidents, or anyone who may be able to identify the suspect, can remain anonymous in reporting the information, or can visit the Penn State University Police Silent Witness web site at: http://www.police.psu.edu/witness/.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010