Tenters should consider adding a lock and key next time they zip up their tents.
A man and woman were questioned by Duke University Police Department officers Saturday afternoon after several students saw the couple rummaging through tents in Krzyzewskiville. Thea Crane, a senior, called DUPD after seeing the middle-aged, Asian couple taking an air pump and chair from her tent around 4 p.m. The two did not have any stolen items on them or in their car at the time they were questioned and were not charged with a crime.
“We assumed it was all a safe place because there were so many students around.... Since there were people who weren’t tenting who were rummaging through that area, that made me uncomfortable,” said senior Emily Eshman, noting that the couple was found looking through her tent as well, but nothing was missing.
Crane wrote in an email Sunday that the DUPD officers told her that the man and woman both had Ph.D.s, but she does not know their names or whether or not they re employed at Duke.
DUPD Chief John Dailey declined to confirm the identity of the two suspects, citing the ongoing investigation. More details regarding the investigation will be available Monday, Dailey noted. This is not the first time DUPD has investigated theft in K-ville, but Dailey added that he is unsure how often this occurs.
He noted that some students have reported several missing items, such as an air pump and cooler, and DUPD is in the process of determining whether or not those items can be connected to the suspects. It is possible that some of the items may have gone missing earlier in the week.
“I get the sense that there were a couple items stolen [Saturday],” Dailey said. “We’re trying to see if it was a law violation and if we can get these items back.”
After the men’s basketball game against Virginia Tech Saturday, Crane arrived at her K-ville shift and saw an unfamiliar woman trying to leave the tent with Crane’s items in hand. When Crane approached her and said the items belonged to her, the woman apologized and put the items back. The woman started walking toward Sheffield Tennis Center, and Crane called DUPD.
An officer arrived and asked Crane several questions so that she could try to find the woman, Crane said.
Crane said she then saw the man carrying a cooler and told him that it belonged to her so that he would leave it in K-ville. Crane followed the man and woman to their car and called DUPD back with the license plate number and make of the car.
Three police cars arrived, and four or five officers questioned the couple near K-ville, Crane said. She added that several students told the police officers about a missing tent, sleeping bags and other large items.
Crane said the couple was still wandering around K-ville when she left at 7 p.m.
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Senior Kevin Nguyen, who is sharing a tent with Eshman, said Crane was able to stop the woman from taking a soccer ball and a cooler from his tent. Nguyen added that he heard the couple may have thought the tents and other items in K-ville were discarded possessions that other people were free to take.
“Clearly that’s not how things work—you can’t just go into someone’s tent,” he said.
When Nguyen arrived at K-ville after a friend called to let him know about the situation, he said he was surprised that students were not the culprits.
“I was thinking ‘I can’t believe this is happening—this is so odd,’” Nguyen said, adding that it is typical for students to occasionally take things from other tents.