The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Hilton Garden Inn faces burglary attempt

Liz Harter | Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Saint Mary’s Security, Notre Dame Security/Police and St. Joseph’s County Police apprehended two burglars attempting to rob the Hilton Garden Inn on Indiana Route 933 in the early morning hours of Feb. 28, local news outlets said.

The St. Joseph’s County Police received a call at 4:10 a.m. from the front desk clerk at the Hilton, the news outlets reported. The Hilton borders Madeleva Drive, which is Saint Mary’s property.

The clerk reported that the hotel had been robbed and a maintenance man was attempting to subdue one of the suspects in front of the hotel, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Sgt. Dale Shines, a Saint Mary’s security guard, was monitoring the St. Joseph County Police frequency at the time of the robbery and decided to patrol the area, David Gariepy, director of Saint Mary’s Security, said.

“[The attempted burglary] caused a concern for our campus should the perpetrators have decided to escape towards our property,” Gariepy said.

NDSP also responded to the robbery after being contacted by the St. Joseph’s County Police, who requested mutual aid from another police agency, Phil Johnson, director of NDSP said.

Gariepy said NDSP arrived “nearly simultaneously” with Shines and both worked to apprehend a second suspect between the Hilton Garden Inn and the Inn at Saint Mary’s.

When Shines arrived, he offered assistance to the St. Joseph’s County officer already there and ascertained whether or not other suspects were involved. He also determined whether a continuing threat existed that might have affected the safety of Saint Mary’s campus, Gariepy said.

Gariepy commended the fast decisions of the front desk clerk and the maintenance man in calling the police and hindering the suspect’s escape in keeping the campus safe.

“Quick action by all emergency responders coupled with the alert actions by the Hilton Garden Inn employee, in delaying the suspect’s departure, resulted in the best possible outcome,” Gariepy said.

Many Saint Mary’s students hadn’t heard about the incident when they returned to campus from spring break.

Junior Jessica Sobczyk was one of them, but said a robbery occurring so close to campus did not change her view of Saint Mary’s campus.

“It doesn’t change my opinion of security at Saint Mary’s,” Sobczyk said. “I still feel safe on campus.”

The incident is not prompting Saint Mary’s Security to add new security patrols of the area of campus around the Hilton Garden Inn, Gariepy said. Upon completion of the Spes Unica academic building in the same area this coming fall, however, he said there will be additional security coverage via surveillance cameras in the area.

“Nothing provides a complete security blanket and we therefore encourage all to be aware of their surroundings and vigilant to suspicious persons and activity,” he said. “We encourage everyone to report all suspicious activity and persons to campus security or the police.”

The Observer could not reach the Hilton Garden Inn and the St. Joseph County Police.