Students charged with crime after entering students’ dorm room

Talge hall.
Talge hall.

Two Southern Adventist University students, both 19 years old, were charged with trespassing after climbing through an unlocked window into two other students’ dorm room on the first floor of Talge Hall, according to an incident report filed by the Collegedale Police Department (CPD). The trespass occurred at approximately 4:15 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29.

There were two students sleeping in the room during the incident, according to Campus Safety’s crime log. The trespassers were also Talge Hall residents, and, according to Shawn Haas, associate director of Campus Safety, they were likely trying to avoid disciplinary action related to missing curfew.

“This is not regular. I have been at Campus Safety since 2013. I do not recall this ever happening before,” wrote Haas in an email to the Accent.

Campus Safety was notified of the crime by a walk-in report at around 9:05 a.m. that same day, according to Haas

“Students reported that they woke up to both students climbing through their window,” Haas wrote. “They did not know them and could not identify them. The students entering the room did not speak to them or engage them in any way. They simply exited the room out into the hallway.”

Campus Safety officers watched camera footage and worked with deans to identify the two suspects. They then contacted the CPD. 

CPD Officer Corporal Ben Parker was dispatched to Talge Hall at 2:57 p.m. that day, according to the incident report. Enroute, he was redirected to Campus Safety, where he spoke with one of the victims and Campus Safety Officer Sergeant Matt Gunther.

The incident report continued to explain that Gunther found video footage of the suspects entering the parking lot. Using the parking registration sticker on the vehicle, he was able to identify the suspects.

Parker also used the video footage and school photos to confirm the suspects’ identities.

“As the suspects entered the window of a dorm room that they did not have rights to enter, I am charging them both with violation of TCA 39-14-405 (Criminal Trespass),” wrote Parker to conclude the report.

In email correspondence with the Accent, Jamie Heath, assistant chief of police of the CPD, explained what happened next. He wrote that Parker obtained misdemeanor warrants from Collegedale Municipal Court for both students that afternoon.

One student was found in his dorm room later that day and arrested. He was in custody for approximately 25 minutes. The other student turned himself in on Feb. 2 and was in custody for approximately 10 minutes. Both were released on O.R. bond, meaning they did not have to pay a bond to be released. Their court dates are set for March 29 at 3 p.m.

“If the victims wish to decline prosecution, they will have an opportunity to express that to the prosecutor on the day of court,” Heath wrote. “If the District Attorney decides that the State no longer wishes to pursue prosecution based on any new information, they may do so on the day of court.”

Haas encourages students to ensure that their windows and doors are closed and locked.

“Campus Safety is always concerned with students’ safety,” Haas wrote. “While this appears to be two residents attempting to get into the dorm while avoiding curfew issues, it could have been something more serious. … Also, in the event a crime or something strange (suspicious activity) occurs, please contact Campus Safety or 911 as soon as possible.”

Collegedale News Editor Elsie Pak contributed to this article.

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