Three Notre Dame students were robbed at gunpoint in their off-campus home Thursday night and, according to one of the students, lost $3,000 worth of possessions.
All three residents were in the home on the 1100 Block of East Sorin Street at the time, but only one was downstairs when two men rang the doorbell and entered the home. One of them had a rifle.
One of the victims, a second-year law student, said he had gone upstairs for a moment when he heard the doorbell ring. The Observer will not name the three students because they are victims of a crime.
“When I came down I saw a man with a rifle on my couch looking through things,” he said. “I asked the guy what he was doing there. He told me to get on the ground immediately … so I got down on the ground.”
Another student, a Notre Dame junior, was already on the ground in the kitchen, he said, while the other, a senior, was not on the ground floor and was unaware of the invasion. The two burglars repeatedly asked where the money was and went upstairs to take several possessions before leaving the house, the student said.
According to South Bend Police logs, the robbery was a home invasion and robbery by suspects armed with a rifle.
The police log lists a cell phone, wallet, backpack, two iPods and three computers among the stolen items.
Two of the residents also lived at the home during the 2009-10 school year. One of them said neighbors say there have been numerous robberies on their street, but they always felt comfortable living there.
“I’d never felt unsafe in my own house,” he said. “I’ve talked to neighbors and it just seems like … they say this is the worst that it’s ever been.”
Police arrived at the house four to five minutes after they were called, another one of the victims said. Several police officers responded, looked for fingerprints and took pictures. He said he found the police to be very helpful after the robbery, but would like to see more police presence in his neighborhood.
“Overall I think they might need maybe one or two more squad cars to patrol the streets where students live,” he said.
The Office of Student Affairs contacted all three students and offered aid in finding alternative housing options, but they said will continue to live on East Sorin Street.
The residents have taken new security precautions, however. One of them said they are changing the locks on their doors and adding an extra security code to their security system so the police are called immediately.
Their possessions have not yet been recovered. South Bend Police took serial numbers of the electronic devices, one of the students said. If the burglars take the computers to a pawnshop, the serial numbers will be checked and police will be notified. Two of the students own the home, but homeowner’s insurance only has a $2,000 deductible; he said they would not likely recover all $3,000 worth of stolen items.
As a result of the incident, one of the victims said he would advise all students who live off campus to take extra security measures, such as keeping doors locked — even while at home — and not walking alone at night.
“Those are little things that we sometimes ignore but can make a big difference if there are people out there willing to hurt Notre Dame students,” he said. “I would just say don’t take anything for granted. South Bend has a lot to offer but at the same time it’s not the most safe area.”