Despite continued uncertainty, many students have expressed concerns about the existence of a kleptomaniac in Alspaugh Dormitory.
Shortly after the Spring semester began, Alspaugh residents started reporting a number of missing items, such as towels, clothes, blankets and even golf uniforms. Although the Office of Housing, Dining and Residence Life is doing its best to respond to students’ concerns—reminding them to stay vigilant and lock their rooms—finding a concrete solution appears difficult, said Alspaugh’s Graduate Resident Pete Chhoy.
“We are addressing the concerns,” said Chhoy, a Ph.D. candidate in pharmacology and cancer biology. “To be honest, though, there are not a lot of concrete steps that we can take to catch a thief. We can’t install cameras or search people’s rooms.”
The thief has allegedly stolen packages from outside of dorm rooms, taken clothes from the laundry room and even grabbed food from students’ rooms. Freshman Katie Perlman said a Duke blanket was stolen from her room and a package worth $50 that UPS reported as delivered was taken from outside of her door.
“I want my stuff back,” Perlman said. “I would be less angry if they would return my things. Seriously though, it's so annoying.”
Alspaugh resident and East Campus Council member Hala Daou, a freshman, said several of her belongings—including three shirts, a computer charger and a package of Cliff bars—have also fallen victim to the alleged kleptomaniac.
“We write in Alspaugh’s Facebook group, and everyone agrees about how mad they are, and nothing changes,” Daou said. “Realistically, though, I know that nothing can be done except [have] people be more careful.”
Perlman and Daou, who are neighbors, took their concerns to Alspaugh’s Facebook page earlier this month, requesting that the thief return any stolen items to the common room. Their post generated over 30 likes and comments, as students listed other items that were stolen and proposed possible solutions.
“The Alspaugh House Council is currently investigating this mysterious situation,” House Council President Keaton Stoner, a freshman, said. “We advise all residents to lock their doors, remain vigilant and stay away from all windows. We will do everything in our power to catch this merciless villain.”
Some students, though, were less certain about the existence of the an Alspaugh kleptomaniac.
“People got caught up in the excitement and hype and began to blame someone for stealing their things,” freshman Julia Kahky, an Alspaugh resident, wrote in an email Sunday. “I honestly don't think there was a thief. I'm sure I lost my stuff as well as other people did.”
If there is in fact a thief, Chhoy offered some concrete short-term solutions, mixed in with life advice.
“People need to lock their doors and take care of their things,” he said. “There are dangerous people in the world. Including in our dorm.”
Lacking other options, some students have used threats are their last recourse.
“Give me back my things,” said freshman Alexa Decina, an Alspaugh resident. “Or else.”
Danou offered a similarly menacing response.
“We’re coming for you,” she said.