Intruder Arrested in Kirkland House

Junior 'shaken up' after man enters her room while she sleeps

A 37-year-old Cambridge man was arrested early yesterday morning after sneaking into a Kirkland House dorm room in an attempted burglary and trying to escape police by throwing a laptop at the officers.

Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officers responded to calls in Kirkland at 2 a.m. on Tuesday that an unidentified man had “piggybacked” into the dormitory. When they arrived, the officers found the intruder in a room in C entry whose door had been propped open by a clothing hanger.

According to HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano, the intruder then shut the door on the officers and fled into the room after throwing the laptop.

“The officers cornered the suspect in the bathroom,” Catalano said in an e-mail. “After a struggle the offender was arrested.”

The intruder was identified by police as Craig King. He is being charged with assault and battery of a police officer, breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, larceny over $250, resisting arrest, and trespassing.

The room’s resident, Amy B. Diaz ’08, was sleeping when King entered. She said that she had propped open the door for her roommate, who was studying in the basement and did not have her key.

“That’s how he got into the room, and that’s why I didn’t hear him when he came into the room—because it wasn’t a forced entry,” she said. “When the officers first came into the room I thought it was people coming into the wrong room.”

Diaz said that the police officers told her that King had been in the process of stealing her laptop, purse, and iPod. Her laptop survived the ordeal.

“I was pretty shaken up last night,” said Diaz. She added that she was “shocked that someone would enter [Kirkland] and go up to the third floor.”

Kirkland House Master Verena Conley was one of the people who alerted the police about the intruder, according to her husband and co-Master Tom Conley.

She “heard strange noises in the courtyard...and immediately called the police,” he wrote in an e-mail. “In the time between the telephone call and the arrival of the police some students returning home had let the marauder enter with or behind him: for when students arrived within minutes of Verena’s call the criminal had already entered the students’ apartment,” he said.

Kirkland House Allston-Burr Resident Dean John P. Walsh said that while he was pleased with how the crime was handled, he was troubled by the lack of precaution taken by students.

“We feel very fortunate and lucky that no one was hurt and we had a very rapid response from HUPD,” he said. “We haven’t, in my tenure, had something like this happen; we’ve always been concerned that [it would]. Students across campus leave their doors unlocked and...tend to forget that they are in an urban environment here.”

Walsh and the Conleys sent out an e-mail advisory to the Kirkland e-mail list yesterday afternoon.

In their e-mail, they said that “although we are relieved that no one was hurt, we are alarmed by the ease with which this man gained access to our house and private suites. We write you to pay more attention to the issue of our safety.”

Catalano, the HUPD spokesman, said that HUPD did not send out a community advisory because there was not a “continuing public safety threat” after King was arrested.

Catalano also said that break-ins by non-Harvard affiliates are “relatively rare.”

Walsh said that as a result of the incident, resident tutors will perform spot checks “to make sure there are no propped doors.”

One Kirkland resident, Merrily E. McGugan ’09, said that she was surprised at the break-in.

“I think of [Kirkland] as such a tight knit community,” she said.

But McGugan added that she still felt safe around Kirkland.

“I do feel like it was probably an isolated incident,” she said. “I will probably just make sure that my room is locked at all times, or that my roommates and I don’t prop open the doors.”

Diaz said that she was “thankful that someone called when they realized that a non-Harvard person was in Kirkland.” “The police were there really quickly and made me feel a lot better about the situation,” she added.

—Staff writer Rebecca M. Anders can be reached at