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The Simpsonian

Police investigate intruder situation on campus

Farquhar, Sunde M.

Farquhar, Sunde M.

by Laura Wiersema, Editor-in-Chief

Indianola Police and Simpson College Security are on the lookout for an intruder in the Colonial Apartments on campus this morning.

An alert to students described the intruder as a 6-foot tall, Caucasian man who was well-built and wearing all black, including a ski mask. The email alert said the intruder left campus around 7:20 a.m. on Friday, May 5.

Senior Ashley Smith lives in the apartment the intruder was in. After coming home from Mojo’s the night before, she left the screen door to her apartment unlocked, something she did frequently before the incident.

This morning, Smith said, she woke up and went about her routine as usual, despite noticing a smoky smell in her apartment. Instead of investigating, she attributed the smell to a burnt pizza the night before.

Smith’s roommates for the semester already moved out, leaving her with the apartment to herself. One roommate, however, left clothes for Smith in the empty bedroom.

After exercising and showering, Smith said she began getting ready and went to get clothes from the closet in the empty bedroom. That was when she saw the masked intruder crouching in the closet.

Smith said when she backed away from the closet, the intruder got up, grabbed her and pushed her up against a desk while covering her mouth with a cloth. Then he whispered in her ear that he was going to leave.

When the intruder let her go without harming her, Smith ran to her neighbor’s apartment for help before calling security and the police. When she came back to her room, the man was gone, leaving the screen door to her apartment ajar.

According to a later email from Dean of Students Luke Behaunek, the intruder left the Colonial area in a vehicle parked in the parking lot east of the building.

“I don’t know how long he was there,” Smith said. “He must have come in in the middle of the night because when I came home, it was fine. I didn’t check anything, but it didn’t smell like smoke or anything.”

The intruder didn’t take or damage anything in the apartment, but he had been smoking cigarettes. According to Smith, he was using a sock as an ashtray, which was left in the closet. They also found a cigarette butt in the closet, contributing DNA to the investigation.

Despite everything, Smith said she is thankful for how well and quickly everything was handled by the school.

“I know there’s a lot of speculation about how the administration handles this stuff but in my case it was handled very well,” she said.

In his email, Behaunek encouraged students to exercise safety around campus and report any suspicious activity if they see it. Students should be especially careful as safety measures are often overlooked during moving and transition times on campus and tend to leave both interior and exterior doors open or propped.

IPD continues to investigate this incident and already have a few leads, according to Smith. If anyone has any information regarding this situation, they are encouraged to contact Simpson College Security at 515-961-1711 or IPD at 515-961-9400.

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