Local News

Intruder finds more Chapel Hill doors unlocked

Posted March 1, 2011 11:31 a.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2011 3:59 p.m. EST

— Unlocked doors at homes of University of North Carolina students continue to entice a man who walked into two more residences early Sunday, police said Tuesday.

A man entered two apartments in the Mill Creek complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between 6:30 and 7:15 a.m. Sunday, police said. Women inside both apartments said they woke up when the man touched their legs.

One woman said the man simply walked out when she saw him in her room and sat up in bed. The second woman said she took action to ensure the man left.

"My first reaction was confusion, really," said the second woman, who asked that her name not be used. "By the time I realized he wasn't moving or saying anything, I realized it wasn't a prank. So, I grabbed a knife that I keep by my bed."

The man fled the apartment, but she said she saw him peeping through her window a few minutes later. She said she then ran out of her apartment to chase him off.

"There doesn't seem to be a motive," she said. "He left quickly. He didn't have a weapon. He didn't have to break in because we were dumb and left the door open. It's a little creepy. It's pretty weird."

Early Friday, a man entered three homes on Church Street and Pritchard Avenue, walked into the residents' bedrooms and shook a cell phone in their faces, police said. In one of those cases, a woman also awoke to find the man rubbing her leg.

Nothing was taken in any of the break-ins. Police said a door was left unlocked in each case, allowing the intruder easy entry.

All of the women are UNC students, and they said they routinely keep their doors locked.

The woman from the first Sunday incident said she had guests staying with her who forgot to lock the door Saturday night. She noted that the intruder walked past the guests sleeping on the couch and into her room.

The woman who chased the man off Sunday said she was on her way to the store Tuesday to buy blinds to hang in her window so no one could look in from outside.

"We don't know what the motivation of this person is," said Lt. Kevin Gunter of the Chapel Hill Police Department. "Our concern is that it could escalate."

Gunter said police have stepped up patrols in the neighborhoods near the UNC campus where students live. He urged local residents to lock their doors and windows and asked that they report any suspicious activity to police.

UNC posted an alert online Friday about the first incidents, but university administrators said they didn't plan to issue an e-mail alert to students.

Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to call either the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515.