ITHACA, N.Y. — Police are reporting that three incidents have been reported in Collegetown in the past two weeks that involve a male creeping into a home and preying on women, Ithaca police said.
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While officials are unsure if the events are related, they are encouraging residents in the area to be cautious.
“Yes, I would be concerned. Thankfully, none of these incidents so far have involved any sort of violent confrontation but, nonetheless, it is alarming and concerning when someone is in your home without your permission and without your knowledge,” Officer Jamie Williamson said.
No suspects have been taken into custody. Williamson said police are investigating the crimes and will likely be increasing patrols in the Collegetown areas.
Police said the following incidents have been reported:
Two separate incidents were reported Thursday morning and happened about two hours apart.
The first happened around 5:15 a.m. when two female Cornell University students woke up to find a man standing at the foot of their beds, police said.
The incident happened at the Young Israel House at 106 West Ave.
One on the women woke up and confronted the trespasser, who police say likely watched the women as they slept.
He allegedly said, “Sorry,” then fled the room.
The trespasser is described as being a white male, about 5-feet-7 inches tall and weighing around 150 pounds. He has short light colored hair and a clean shaven face. He’s believed to possibly be in his early 20s and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with “Cornell” written across the front.
Around 7:30 a.m. at a private apartment on the 700 block of Stewart Ave., another woman woke up and found a man standing at the foot of her bed. He also apologized before dashing out of the residence.
The trespasser is described as a white male, between 5-feet-8 inches and 6-feet tall, with a medium build. He has dark colored hair and a clean shaven face. He may be in his early 20s.
Police said no items were stolen or disturbed in the rooms at either of these residents.
Officials said that around 3:05 a.m. on the 300 block of Bryant Avenue, a male and female woke up to find an unknown male in their apartment trying to remove the woman’s undergarments. The suspect fled the scene when they woke up.
The only description obtained is of a male figure about 6-feet tall and weighing around 155 pounds.
Safety Tip from the Ithaca Police
In a news release Friday, the Ithaca Police Department released the following general safety tips (The crimes detailed above were not mentioned in the news release):
The Ithaca Police Department would like to remind our residents and visitors to use basic crime preventative measures to assure Ithaca remains a safe, vibrant community.
Some of the easy yet effective crime preventative measures include: locking all doors, closing windows and blinds, utilizing motion lights or placing interior lights on timers, reporting suspicious activity or people in your neighborhoods. Establishing a routine each night before you go to bed to make certain your doors and windows are locked is the single most effective step you can take to assure your home is safe. It takes 30 seconds and it’s easy to do.
To report suspicious activity please call the Ithaca Police Department at 607-272-3245. For crimes in progress please call 911.
— Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1 3/4 inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar.
— A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain. Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open but if you have these doors, you can find special locks for them. A broomstick in the door channel can also help, but cannot be depended on.
— Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick resistant. Ask your hardware dealer or landlord for a reputable brand or buy your locks from a locksmith.
— Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by “pinning” the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside.
D. Home Security Habits
— Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked and alarm
— Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your systems are turned on.
— Personal plans in want ads, social media sites or public notices (such as giving your
address when advertising items for sale).
— Notify the police if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
— Don’t carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
— Don’t hide your keys in “secret” places outside your home—burglars usually know where to look.
— Leave blinds open in their usual position.
— Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
— Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
— Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
— Stop newspaper deliveries.
— Ask a friend to pick-up “throw-away” newspapers and circulars.
— Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
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