On Thursday, two students from St Catherine’s College intercepted a man in their staircase and chased him from the college, retrieving some of their valuables in the process.
Second-year Psychology student Jake Berger intercepted a man coming out of a neighbouring student’s room. After reportedly recognising the other student’s bag, Berger followed the man out of the staircase and confronted him, at which point the man fled.
Another student, second-year Mark Hamblin, was allegedly hit in the face by the man as he tried to obstruct him, sustaining a minor injury. The two then pursued the intruder down Manor Road as far as Holywell Manor, at which point the man dropped a bag which was found to contain two laptops, alcohol and other items. He was not caught, and is thought to have escaped with approximately £100 in cash and a bankcard.
Berger commented, “I had just come back from a meeting with the Master, so the sight of me chasing a thief down Manor Road in my gown must have been pretty disconcerting.
“I think [this incident] happening is a trade off for being as open a college as Catz is.”
Witnesses reported seeing an unidentified male sitting on a bench outside the staircase prior to the incident. He allegedly left a pair of gloves at the scene. The incident has been reported to the police who have spoken to the students whose rooms may have been entered.
Student Matthew Rose, whose money was taken, told Cherwell, “I think it’s a reality check. We’re not in an ivory tower – I almost lost my entire degree on my laptop because I assumed college was secure.”
Dean of St Catherine’s Richard Bailey said, “We take security extremely seriously and are looking in to ways to ensure we don’t have a repeat of this incident.”
JCR President Jack Hampton commented, “Yesterday at 2:15pm an unknown single man entered one of the Catz staircases, went through a number of student rooms, was interrupted in the act and ran, making off with a significant amount of cash.
“This is an isolated incident. As JCR President, I have no concerns about security at Catz. We trust college and the police to resolve this quickly and efficiently.”
In February last year, a spate of robberies from the Catz post room prompted the college to tighten security measures.