Student report leads to arrest
The Rice University Police Department arrested and charged a man with attempted burglary of a motor vehicle, criminal trespassing and possession of marijuana on Jan. 12 after a Rice student allegedly saw the suspect attempting to open the doors and trunks of multiple cars near Entrance 23 in North Lot.
The lone witness allegedly saw the suspect, Kenneth Hunt, opening and searching through the trunk of a black hatchback vehicle, according to the RUPD report. Hunt then allegedly closed the hatchback and started pulling on door handles and trunk lids of other vehicles in the parking lot.
"The witness was a quick thinker," Interim Police Captain Clemente Rodriguez said. "She realized something wasn't right and called RUPD."
When officers arrived, they found someone matching the description and verified that the owner of the black hatchback vehicle had not given Hunt permission to open the trunk. In addition, RUPD found a marijuana blunt in Hunt's possession. They charged him with attempted burglary, criminal trespass and narcotics possession and passed the facts of the case on to the Harris County District Attorney's office, which accepted the charges, Rodriguez said.
Hunt is not affiliated with the university and was transported to the Harris County Jail. However, Rodriguez said he was not sure what will ultimately happen to Hunt because he is also a suspect in a series of home burglaries in Louisiana. A parish in Louisiana contacted the jail to request an interview with Hunt. From there, he will either stay in Harris County or be transported to Louisiana, Rodriguez said.
"This is an incident where RUPD partnered with an alert community to get a criminal off the streets for now and prevent someone from being the victim of a crime," Rodriguez said.
He added that anyone who sees suspicious activity should immediately call RUPD.
"Better for us to check it out and make sure there's nothing going on," Rodriguez said. "Better to be safe than sorry."
Though nothing of value was taken from the hatchback and Hunt was not able to enter any other vehicles, Rodriguez said students should take care to keep their vehicles locked and valuables out of sight. He said that people on campus should park their vehicles in well-lit rather than secluded areas.
"Don't become an easy target," Rodriguez said. "We're fortunate [Hunt] didn't do anything more serious."
Hanszen College junior David Lou said the burglary incident surprised him because he usually feels safe on campus, but he also wishes RUPD had a more noticeable presence.
"All I've ever encountered RUPD doing is sticking their heads out of car windows and telling me not to ride my longboard in the road," Lou said. "If I could see them walking around, especially at night, it would deter criminals, and I would feel safer making the walk from West Lot, for example."
More from The Rice Thresher
Students returning to campus in the upcoming fall semester will have to adjust to a number of precautionary changes all subject to change, such as rearranged housing, bathroom schedules and mandated COVID-19 testing, implemented in efforts to protect against the spread of COVID-19, according to an email sent July 1 by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman.
The Lovett College Orientation Week coordinator team reopened advisor applications to add additional advisors and to create an additional O-Week team after some students raised concerns about a lack of Black advisors at Lovett. This comes after previous years in which residential college advising teams have been criticized for lacking diversity.
“We cannot ignore the very real and very problematic history of the man who founded this institution,” Gabrielle Falcon (Martel ‘20) said. “Progress is inevitable and I would hope that Rice would do its best to join the wave of progress we have been seeing this summer, instead of making pointed decisions to prevent it from flourishing.”