Students in Brooks reported thefts of laptop computers, credit cards and cash after Saturday night’s Brooks Late Night party. Security and the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) responded to reports early Sunday morning and are proceeding with an investigation.
The stolen items, which included three laptops valued at $2,000 apiece, came from student bedrooms that were left unlocked. Security eventually shut down the party.
No suspects have been identified, though a press release from the WPD said that a student had reported seeing two young males in the dormitory prior to discovering the thefts.
“Officers were provided with descriptions of the two but were unable to locate anyone in the immediate area,” read the release.
Dave Boyer, assistant director of Security, added that the profiles of the males indicted they were not from campus.
“The description of the people seemed not to be Williams students,” Boyer said.
Boyer said that the party was “a complete disaster.” He noted that it was over fire capacity and that students had urinated throughout the house. He also said Security was investigating a possible drugging of a student.
He added that Brooks parties have been problematic in the past, citing an incident last year in which local high school students broke into rooms and stole items.
As a result, in organizing Saturday’s party, Security told students to keep their rooms locked. Boyer suggested that the weekend’s events could bring an end to the traditional weekly parties at Brooks.
“We are seriously considering eliminating the Brooks Late Night party,” said Boyer. “There’s been a long history of problems.”
In response to the weekend’s events, Security has summoned student hosts and peer monitors of the party to a mandatory meeting to discuss the status of their Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) certification, which is required for all student hosts and peer monitors.
As Brooks had not yet chosen its house presidents, Director of Security Jean Thorndike had discouraged party hosts from holding the popular weekend party until house elections had taken place, said Boyer, so that they could “see the pitfalls before they happened.”
Brooks is considered by Security a difficult party to host, as it takes place in the house’s basement, has a low fire capacity of 89 people and runs late into the night, from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. The house also has multiple entrances, with a back door and upstairs fire exit in addition to the main front access.
Terri Autry-Williams ’03, a third-floor Brooks resident, was among the students who had items stolen. She reported the loss of a laptop, cash, a credit card, a portable compact disc player and the earpiece from a cordless phone. Williams, who was in the basement at the party during the thefts, said that she had heard the door to the upstairs fire exit was open and suspects that the thieves used this exit to leave the house.
Steve Floyd ’02, who was the required TIPS-trained 21-year-old host of the party, said that he and members of the house had worked to monitor all of the entrances and exits, but he said the nature of Brooks made it a difficult task.
“The problem with the party in general was that it is extremely difficult to regulate flow in and out of the house,” Floyd said. “Even if you shut off card readers, which is standard procedure, people are still able to go in and out as others open up doors.”
Selma Kikic ’02, who had her newly-purchased laptop stolen from Brooks, offered a simple message to other students to protect their personal possessions: “Be safe and lock your rooms when you leave at night regardless of all.
“I really hope that this serves as a good lesson to others on campus especially to people who live in the houses that throw student sponsored parties,” Kikic added.
Security is assisting the WPD with the investigation.
Anyone with information about the theft is requested to contact WPD officers Shaun William or Scott McGowan at (413) 458-5733.