On Oct. 29, the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) arrested a suspect in relation to a series of 10 local business break-ins. All establishments reported forced entry between the overnight hours of Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25.
The targeted businesses are primarily located on Water and Main Streets and include establishments such as Hot Tomatoes, Olympic Pizza, Redstone Properties, the former American Legion building and U … A Fine Hair Studio.
At Hot Tomatoes, the perpetrator or perpetrators smashed the back door and crowbarred the safe. A Hot Tomatoes worker estimated that the perpetrators caused about $1000 worth of damage. However, the thief only accessed about $80 from the safe because workers drop off money at the bank every night. The most recent major crime at Hot Tomatoes occurred 10 years ago when an employee stole the deposit box.
At Olympic Pizza, the perpetrators broke the back kitchen door and took cash from the register. There have been no similar crimes at Olympic Pizza before this point.
The suspect was arrested for a previous break in on Spring Street, according to WPD Chief Kyle Johnson. The investigation is ongoing, but WPD believes the break-ins are all related.
There were no break-ins in any College-owned building, according to David Boyer, director of Campus Safety and Security. But according to Boyer, “We are always concerned about theft on campus, especially when people break into buildings to commit those thefts. Thefts oftentimes occur in clusters and that is why it is so important to immediately report suspicious people or activity.”
Security takes many measures to prevent thefts and respond quickly to any alerts. Officers frequently patrol buildings. Many of the College’s buildings have intrusion alarm systems and card access systems. According to Boyer, concerned community members are also helpful in efforts to prevent crime.
Most recently, a Junior Advisor reported suspicious people in the Bronfman Science Center and notified Security. Officers identified the suspects as several people from Keene, N.H. The suspects, who were posing as book buyers, were linked by security to stolen books and other crimes in the past. Security identified the individuals and posted them from campus.
Many students at the College still feel safe on campus despite the recent rash of break-ins. “I never feel threatened when walking back from Sawyer alone after dark, even though Mission is sort of isolated,” Mikaela Cordasco ’18 said. “I’m pretty cautious in general about safety, but I definitely let my guard down at Williams. It just seems like a very safe place.”