Underwear thief leaves university, off-campus students on edge

Bradley Feasel

Bradley Feasel

Erika Glover and Erika Glover

A male stranger was found in a University of North Carolina-Greensboro female student’s closet wearing her clothing.

According to an article from ABC11 in North Carolina, the UNCG student said she still doesn’t feel safe.

Bowling Green has its own story regarding break-ins, similar to the UNCG intruder: the Bowling Green “underwear thief.” For first-time home-owning college students, a man invading homes and stealing underwear in their town just over a year ago can cause concern.

This is the case for sophomore early childhood education major Erin Kirner, who will

be leasing an off-campus home for the first time this summer.

“I know that Bowling Green is a safe town; I love it here,” Kirner said. “But the thought of someone being in my house when just my friends and I are there does scare me.”

Kirner isn’t alone in this fear, as sophomore exercise science major Taylor Thees said, “Even though I know (the Bowling Green underwear thief) is behind bars now, I still worry about break-ins, especially since my house only has four girls in it.”

With these concerns in mind, there are a few things to know for students living in off-campus housing.

“Be sure to talk to a neighbor before moving in to see how they like it,” Lakeshia Dowlen, BGSU assistant dean of students and director of Off-Campus Student Services, said. “Also, make a note to visit the location at night and see what it’s like. See if you feel comfortable.”

Once a location is determined, Detective Lieutenant Rod Smith of the Wood County Sheriff’s Department reminded students there are a few ways to prepare themselves for living on their own.

“The very first thing to do is find out what jurisdiction they are in,” Smith said. “Bowling Green has their own police department, but not everyone might live within there. Being proactive about who to call.”

Smith also noted the importance of simple tasks that might seem like they are mundane, but can make all the difference in times of emergency.

“Lock your doors, and trust your gut,” Smith reminded students. “If you have a funny feeling that something isn’t right, don’t ignore it. Many victims of the case in (Bowling Green) stated that they had felt something had been off for a long period of time.”

When recounting the recent closing of the case, Smith said, “This sort of thing doesn’t happen often, but a lot of times it doesn’t get reported. Wood County is a good place with not as much crime, so this made big news.”

There are resources for students available on and off campus if they need help.

“We will always find a way to support our students,” Dowlen said in regard to working on campus. “If that means working with off outside departments, we will do what we have to.”