Clare College hit by burglaries

Michael Yoganayagam - Co-Editor-In-Chief 6 October 2011

The hot weather has been taking its toll on Cambridge’s second-oldest college, as opportunist thieves took advantage of open windows in Clare College graduate and undergraduate accommodation in two separate incidents of burglary. In both cases, the thieves entered the students’ rooms via windows that had been left open, and targeted electronic items such as laptops.

In one of the incidents, which took place on Monday afternoon, a ground-floor room in The Colony, a Clare accommodation complex on Chesterton Lane, was burgled while the victim, Jonathan Hollis, a 3rd-year Economist, was in the toilet. When he emerged, his laptop, phone and laptop chargers were gone.

His neighbour, Vedantha Kumar, saw the thief leaving the room via the window and whilst on the phone to the police, pursued him on foot along Chesterton Lane as he attempted to make his escape. After a 10 minute chase, the burglar, who was described as tall with spiky ginger hair, was cornered in a narrow alleyway off Holland Road. He proceeded to threaten the unarmed Kumar with a large plank of wood he’d found in the alley, which prompted Kumar to leave the alley and attempt to head off the thief at the other end. However, the burglar managed to make his escape, just before the police arrived, having been on the phone to Kumar for the duration of the chase.

Hollis later found his phone on the pavement on Chesterton Lane, which the thief seemed to have dropped while making his escape. A suspect was subsequently arrested on Wednesday afternoon, though he is yet to be charged.

The news comes after serial university burglar, Graham Woollett, 35, was banned from Cambridge for 10 years in August after a series of 13 attempts to loot Cambridge University faculty buildings, science labs and student accommodation at Robinson College.

Michael Yoganayagam – Co-Editor-In-Chief