Thefts, Trespassing Rattle 5C Students

Scripps residence hall Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler, the location of a recent break-in. (Jojo Sanders • The Student Life)

In the wake of several recent robberies and break-ins on campus, some students are feeling rattled.

On Dec. 11, three men not associated with the 5Cs approached a Claremont McKenna College student and demanded her cell phone. The next morning, a different man was arrested for burglary after sneaking into a residence hall at Scripps College.

A group of Scripps students encountered the man earlier in the night at the Honnold Mudd Library.

Vani Dewan SC ’21 and her roommate were studying in the library around 5 a.m. Dec. 12 when Dewan noticed a man pacing.

“It was strange because it was five in the morning, and we were seeing a new face,” she said.

Dewan grew more uncomfortable when the man started asking her questions, including where she lived and when she was leaving the library. The final straw for Dewan was when she saw the man hovering near her friend, who was asleep in a chair in the adjacent room.

“At one point, it looked like he was touching her,” she said. Dewan woke up her friend and told her that it was time to leave. They hustled back to Scripps, locked the door, and went to sleep.

When she woke up the next morning, Dewan heard that someone had broken into a student’s dorm room, so she immediately called Campus Safety, and Claremont Police Department officers arrived soon after.

The man was later identified as 20-year-old Corona resident Gaven Hughes, according to the Claremont Courier. Hughes was arrested that morning for prowling, burglary, and possession of a stolen student ID.

CPD Lieutenant Jason Walters, who is investigating the incident, was unavailable to comment.

No other property was stolen, but Dewan was shaken by the experience.

“I think when the library is [open] 24 hours, they should check IDs, because then anyone can come in,” she said.

Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth wrote in an email that the colleges work closely with the CPD and also share crime trends with other private and public colleges to prevent similar occurrences.

“While the recent incidents are particularly unusual for our campuses, Campus Safety considers every crime a genuine concern,” Skipworth wrote.

Scripps took additional steps — including conducting a “safety sweep” of the residence halls to identify any potential security breaches — following the recent crimes, Scripps spokeswoman Karen Bergh wrote in an email to TSL.

The college is also reviewing its lockout fee policy, under which students are charged a fee if they are locked out of their room.

“We have received feedback that these fees may be discouraging some students from locking their rooms upon leaving the space,” Bergh wrote.

On Jan. 20, Jonathan Gunasti PO ’20 heard a knock on his door, and opened it to find a college-age man he did not recognize, he said.

When Gunasti asked who the man was looking for, he said, “Sorry, I thought this was a girl’s room.”

Gunasti asked which girl he was looking for, and the man responded, “I just thought a girl lived here.” The man told Gunasti that he was not from the 5Cs, and said he was “from Germany.”

The man then pointed to the adjacent dorm room and asked, “Well, is that a girl’s room?” At that point, Gunasti contacted some other residents in the dorm, and they eventually got the man to leave.

Earlier in December, Anna Barker PO ’21 said that, while working in the Coop Fountain, she noticed a man in his 30s staring at her.

“He asked me if I had any lotion, and I didn’t know how to respond,” she said.

Some of her friends at another table saw that Barker seemed uncomfortable, and told an employee at the Coop. Eventually, Campus Safety came and escorted the man out.

“I was weirdly scared to walk home that night,” Barker said. “I had never felt that way before.”