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Updated: Central residents report unknown male in apartment, 2 missing laptops early Sunday

The first DukeAlert since security on Central doubled was sent out following the incident

Two Central Campus residents reported spotting an unknown male in their apartment and two missing laptops early Sunday morning.

The activity on Central that occurred at approximately 6:30 a.m. was reported to students, faculty and staff with a DukeAlert notification in accordance with the Clery Act shortly after 8 a.m. The alert is the fourth to be sent since late July, third regarding crime on Central Campus and first since the University doubled security on Central in early September.

In the alert, the male who was reportedly in the apartment was described as a college-age white male with a thin build and short hair who was wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans. It also stated that there was no sign of forced entry in the apartment, and DUPD confirmed that the burglar was unarmed.

Information about the crime is still limited, said Duke University Police Department's First Sergeant Griffin. as it is unclear how the burglar entered the room without signs of forced entry given that all doors on Central Campus automatically lock. Griffin noted that, if in fact the door was locked, it is possible that the lock malfunctioned. He added that the students who reported the burglary were asleep in the apartment when the perpetrator broke in.

The crime that led to a doubling of security Sept. 2 was an armed robbery of a female student near the 1901 Erwin Road apartments. On July 24, there was an armed robbery reported near the 301 Swift Ave. apartments, and there was also an armed robbery on Central in February—Duke's first on-campus armed robbery in more than a year.

Sue Wasiolek, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the University takes these crimes very seriously and is doing what it can to keep Duke safe.

“In spite of these incidents that have occurred, I would still say that Duke is a relatively safe campus," she said. "The last several incidents on Central Campus have certainly prompted us to increase security and to consider other options that we might have as time goes on."

Wasiolek reminded students to be proactive in keeping themselves and their property safe by locking their doors and not leaving valuable possessions unattended, a message echoed by Dean for Residential Life Joe Gonzalez in an email to all Central residents Sunday afternoon.

"If there is a malfunctioning lock or anything else that would compromise security, I would encourage students, as well as anyone else on campus, to very quickly report that to facilities management,” Wasiolek said. “I have great faith in the Duke community, and part of that is based on the fact that I know that we care about each other. My hope is that we would all continue to look out for each other.”

Update: This story was updated late Sunday night with the comments of Griffin and Wasiolek, as well as the information about Gonzalez's email. Check back for updates on this developing story.