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Something really strange going on at UNH

Posted by Kathy G on 7/23/03 at 17:11 (125068)

and it's serious. My daughter is living in the apartment that she has rented for the last two years and will be moving in the middle of August. She finished her summer class and is working full time. A reporter called her last night to ask her if she knew about the 'burglaries' in her area and she didn't know what she was talking about. Come to find out, since June 26th, on four different occasions, a fellow has entered the apartments of females and attempted to disrobe them while they sleep. He does this between 3 and 4 AM. Kids typically go out to the bars on Tuesday and Thursday nights on campus so he hits very early on Wednesday and Friday mornings. I suppose he figures that the girls will be very soundly asleep if they've been drinking. When the girl awakens, he runs out of the apartment. The police have been unable to get a good desription of him because they girls are so stunned when they awake.

The residences he's hitting are right on Main Street, where my daughter lives. Durham is a typical little college town and many old homes have been converted to apartments.

I called the Durham Police and spoke to a very nice detective and he told me that they hadn't let any of this out until today because they were sure they knew who was doing it. However, the last attack took place early Tuesday morning and they knew exactly where the suspect was at that time. (Actually the tv news said they'd already arrested him on unrelated charges but the detective didn't say that.) The detective said that since they know now that it isn't the guy they suspected, they are back to square one and need the public's help to find the guy. He also is concerned because the guy didn't follow his pattern this time; he came in on a Tuesday morning.

My daughter has one roommate who goes home to work occasionally. The roommate has gone home tonight and so my daughter is coming home rather than having to stay alone in her apartment. She doesn't get out of work until 9PM and she isn't the type who alarms easily but this has rightfully spooked her out.

I watched the 5PM news on the Manchester station and their reporter said that all the apartments hit had unlocked doors. The detective mentioned that many of the kids leave their apartment doors unlocked but he didn't say that the ones involved definitely were. My daughter said the reporter told her that the girls were so shaken that they couldn't remember if they had locked their doors. I have always given my daughter speeches about locking her door even though it's a small college town but I don't know if she really does or not.

I suspect that the guy is going to bars, staking out girls who are drinking heavily, and then following them home. My daughter isn't a heavy drinker. I know, all mothers say that! But, over her college years, her roommates have mentioned that if they didn't have her to take care of them when they drink too much, they'd be in big trouble. Because she has to get up to go to work the next day, she can't go out and drink much on Tuesday and Thursdays anyhow. No doubt, now that the story has broken, the bars in Durham will see a decline in liquor sales to girls.

Luckily she's going to visit my sister in Maryland this Friday and Saturday night. Maybe they'll catch him while she's gone. Wouldn't you know that she just broke up with her boyfriend of three years on Monday night? She can't ask him to sleep over! Maybe she will call a few of her guy friends and ask them to bunk out at her house until she moves the middle of next month. Otherwise, she's going to have to commute 1 hour and 15 minutes to and from work each day.

This is truly alarming and one of the times that you realize no matter how old they are, they're still your children and you want to protect them. At twenty-two, she's still not quite a grown-up although I will say that I was very pleased when I called the detective. He said that she had already called him herself to confirm what the reporter had told her. He was impressed -- and so was I!

Say a prayer they catch this idiot. Whether my daughter is out of there or not, this idiot has got to be stopped. Women should be able to feel safe when they're asleep.

Thanks for listening to me ramble!!

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Sharon W on 7/23/03 at 17:50 (125072)

What a piece of scum! x-(

Yes, this guy has got to be STOPPED!! I have daughters in college, too -- in fact, one is the same age as yours -- and I can imagine how I would feel, in your situation...


Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Carole C in NOLA on 7/23/03 at 19:59 (125090)

Kathy, I think you are absolutely right to be very upset about this!

In Baton Rouge, near LSU several women were killed by a serial killer in the past two years. They found a suspect whose DNA is a match. He started his criminal record with a history of peeping Tom, and then just walking into (or quietly breaking into) homes, I guess to do the peeping Tom business up close. Or sometimes he apparently would just knock and ask to use the phone, and then try to find out if the woman was home alone, or if she had family or a dog that might interfere with his terrible plans. Then this.

I know that not everybody who does more 'minor' sexual offenses becomes a serial rapist/killer, by any means. Yet, if it was my daughter, I'd be terrified. You can't protect her from the world, and bringing her home from college would not be in order, it seems to me.

Still, I would install deadbolts on her door and insist that she use them. I'd also insist that she get an escort when out after dark, and I'd try to educate her about watching to see if she's being followed, not talking to strangers, and so on. She should especially be careful to have an escort home if she's been out drinking. It might even be good to get her a can of pepper spray for her purse. It's so sad that the world has become like this.

Carole C

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Pam S. on 7/23/03 at 22:03 (125102)

Dear Kathy:
I am so sorry you all have to worry about terrible things like this. It is such a scary world for our children especially our daughters out there. You try not to worry about them so much and let go and when things like this happen it is just so upsetting. I think Carole's advice is great. Have her take every precaution you can think of. Hope they catch this nut case soon. Thinking of you, pam

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Suzanne D on 7/23/03 at 22:31 (125107)

Oh, Kathy, I agree! I am so sorry this is happening. I will pray for your daughter. And I'll pray they catch this man so it will stop. Carole has given some excellent advise as usual, and I would join her in urging your daughter to take every precaution. I learned the value of dead-bolt locks several years ago when we had a break-in at our home. They easily came through our locked back door. We then had dead-bolts installed.

Thoughts and prayers,
Suzanne :)

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Kathy G on 7/24/03 at 09:10 (125125)

Since she does lock her doors and she is renting the house from a landlord who is an idiot, we wouldn't dare install deadbolts. Even if we asked, he'd give us a hard time. Luckily she's there only for a few more weeks.

She's very savvy about not going out alone at night, being aware, etc. and she doesn't drink to excess. When she came home, she was telling me that at least one of these girls was apparently so drunk that she never awakened until this scumbag had removed her tanktop, the straps of which he cut with scissors. The fact that he had a potential weapon is quite scary. But, as my daughter said, girls should never get that drunk as they just can't let their guard down. As she said, equality issues aside, that's the hard truth.

She and my husband have come up with some further security safeguards she can put into her apartment, and she luckily has an air conditioner so she can shut and lock her windows. She also has a couple of boys who she is going to ask to sleep at her place on the nights that her roommate is gone.

It will be interesting to see whether the intrusions continue now that it's hit the news or if he'll quit. It would be best, obviously, if they could catch him.

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

Richard, C.Ped on 7/24/03 at 11:42 (125144)

I have spoken to peopel that have gotten those wireless doorbell systems from Lowe's or Home Depot installed on their doors and windows. I use it on my office door so I will know when someone comes in. It is very inexpensive...like $20 or so. It is easy to install. It just sticks to the door or window. It is two seperate peices that when seperated, cause the bell to ring.

I hope that made sense. It is hard to describe on an empty stomach...haha.


Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

john h on 7/24/03 at 12:46 (125148)

I just installed a wireless doorbell in my office building for one of the tenants. The building is locked down on Saturday and Sunday and the tenant has visitors so i put the bell in his office and the buttons on two entrance doors. The buttons are about 50 feet from his office and work great. I think the bell and two buttons were about $39.00 at Radio Shack and took me 10 minutes to install.

In my home the doorbell is installed in a hallway about midway in the house. While in the kitchen with the TV going and my wife yelling I sometimes would not hear the doorbell. I installed a sensor/wireless transmitter in the doorbell box so when the doorbell rings it senses the sound and triggers a doorbell I plug in the wall in the kitchen or where ever. Another Radio Shack device for about $25..

Re: A fifth woman has come forward

Kathy G on 7/25/03 at 09:55 (125214)

An update - a fifth woman has come forward. The NH State Police, Maine and Massachusetts police and the FBI are now involved in the investigation. They say that in all five cases, the women came home between the hours of 1AM and 6AM and did not lock their doors. They confirmed that he has a scissors with him when he strikes.

I thank you, Richard and John, for the suggestions but I think that since my daughter has only a few more weeks in the apartment, we'll probably just have her come home, if she so desires, on the nights she will be alone. Her third roommate moved out a couple of months ago. She says she was nortorious about leaving the house unlocked but that she and her present roommate have always been dilligent about it.

My poor daugher! She was supposed to move into a three bedroom apartment on August 13th and the third roommate just backed out so now she has to find a two bedroom. She broke up with her boyfriend of three years on Monday. She's a pharmacy tech and the other tech, a young, pregnant girl from Poland with a shady husband seventeen years her senior, stopped coming to work the other day and left without notice. The only thing she told them was that something happened and they have bolted her house and she can't get her possessions. This poor girl is obviously not aware that her husband is skipping out on rent. She told my daughter she is lonely as this is the fourth time this kind of thing has happened and she never gets a chance to make friends. As a result of her leaving, my daughter has been asked to work extra hours to cover for this girl until they find a replacement. And she is sure there must be something she can do to help this girl. I told her that sometimes you just have to tend to your own problems.

On Monday, I will go up and scout out apartments for her and weed out the bad ones so that she won't waste her time looking at ones that are not appropriate. This is what her roommate should be doing but she's very passive and won't do a thing. My daughter has always found apartments and made arrangements for moves, utilities, etc. The other girl is a good roommate and they are very compatible so I guess that's a positive.

I'm rambling which is so unusual for me but she is so distressed and as a result, so am I! I know it will all work out and I keep telling her that but she has every right to be upset.

Ah, and how many of us long to be back in our college days?

Re: A fifth woman has come forward

Suzanne D on 7/25/03 at 21:33 (125255)

Of course your daughter - and you - are stressed, Kathy! You have every right to be. I am thinking of you all often, and pray that the guy will soon be caught before anything else happens.

Good luck on the apartment hunting.

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: A fifth woman has come forward

Carole C in NOLA on 7/27/03 at 06:53 (125323)

Kathy, you said, 'Ah, and how many of us long to be back in our college days?' I agree that it's not as rosy a picture in real life as it is in our memories!

On the other hand, how about if I just borrow my college age body leave my college days behind me? I'd love to be strong and have a perfect size 10 body again, and have no arthritis, PF, or weight-gaining tendencies, which was the case for me back when I was 20.

Carole C

Re: A fifth woman has come forward

Sharon W on 7/27/03 at 09:07 (125329)

AMEN to that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Re: Something really strange going on at UNH

marie on 7/27/03 at 16:51 (125368)

Your concerns are valid. There have been some good suggestions. Can your daughter have a dog? We had a real wierdo who stalked my roommate when I was in college. He'd stand outside and peek in our windows late at night. The cops could never catch him. sometimes he'd return within minutes after they left. Lights and noise had no affect on him, he was really brazen about what he was doing. Since my roommate confronted him... by accident, she heard some noise on our porch and thinking it was the cat she opened the door and there he was, she had a very good look at him.

We had some male friends stay with us and we borrowed a dog from my sister. This was suggested by the police. We moved from that neighborhood later.

We went out to eat one night with some friends and you'll never guess who our waiter was. It was him. He was trying to play it cool but we could see the sweat rolling down his neck. She reported this to the police and they followed up on it. They told us that he had a background of stalking and attacking women...who looked alot like my roommate. Very creepy.