Crime Alert: A Door-to-Door Extortionist

Sunday, November 22, the following incident happened at a fraternity house:

Someone came to the door pretending to sell food/beverages. He reportedly named a brother in the house, and was let in and told to wait for that brother.

The brother who was named had no idea who the man was, so he and several other brothers asked the man to leave. At that point, the man said that he had a 9mm gun and that he could shoot them and no one would be the wiser. He also stated he was going to "remember their faces and they'd better watch out when they walk home." He agreed to leave if the brothers gave him $20--which they did. The man left.

Below are some safety reminders if you are in a classroom, office, residence, fraternity or sorority.

  • If someone you don't know asks for permission to enter your residence, do not permit entry until identification is made by another member of the residence.
  • Entry doors should have peepholes that should be used before permitting entry to anyone.
  • All entrances to your home should be well-lit. If you live in an apartment building, make sure all halls are properly illuminated; if they are not, notify the landlord.
  • Never prop doors open, especially fire doors, even for a short period of time.
  • Keep doors locked, even if you are away for only a few minutes. An unlocked door at night or during the day permits easy entry to someone who can harm or steal from you. Remember, most losses occur during the day.
  • Report to University Police anyone who behaves suspiciously. Remember his/her appearance and relay it to the dispatcher.
  • Develop a building patrol or watch program.
  • If you are going to be away from your residence for an extended period of time during semester breaks, register your residence with Public Safety (for how-to, see Almanac November 17).
  • Report suspicious sounds, activities, automobiles, or behavior that you see. Use these important phone numbers for this or for any fire, police or medical emergencies:

 To Call Penn Public Safety from Campus Phones  511
 To Call Penn Public Safety from Off Campus Phones  573-3333
 To Call Philadelphia Police Emergency  911


With best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,

--Susan Hawkins, Director of Special Services, Public Safety

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 14, December 8, 1998