Monday, September 17, 2007

WSU student arrested for break-ins

WSU student arrested for sorority break-ins

The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University)

Reports September 17, 2007

Pullman Police said they have one suspect in custody after a woman woke up to two men sexually assaulting her early Thursday morning. WSU student Kyle M. Schott, 23, was arrested early this afternoon. He is facing one count of first degree rape, one count of burglary in the first degree, two counts of residential burglary and one count of attempted burglary, according to a Pullman Police news release. Police are actively pursuing leads to identify two other suspects in the string of burglaries Thursday morning. A woman in her early 20s was asleep in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority on Monroe Street at about 4:30 a.m. when two men reportedly entered the house and began assaulting her. Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said it was sexual assault but didn’t involve intercourse, and the men fled when the woman woke up.

Tennant said the woman was not a Kappa Alpha Theta member, and was sleeping in a individual room while sorority members slept on sleeping porches. The men are also suspects in break-ins at Delta Gamma and Pi Beta Phi sororities at about the same time frame.

There was no sign of forced entry at Kappa Alpha Theta, and Tennant said he thought they may have used the fire escape to enter. It appears to be a random attack, he said.
Police Sgt. Sam Sorem said Thursday evening that residents near Delta Gamma and Pi Beta Phi on Lynden Street gave descriptions of the two men who reportedly broke into the houses. “We’ve had some very commendable citizen involvement from people who live in that area,” Sorem said.

Alpha Gamma Rho President Ryan Lantz and fraternity member Branden Rainer saw the two suspects Wednesday evening, Lantz said. When they heard about the assault the next day, they were frustrated that they hadn't done anything. Rainer thought he recognized one of the suspects as a friend of a friend, so they began investigating on their own, Lantz said. They talked to owners of The Coug and Valhalla and determined the suspect was from the area. Using Facebook, Lantz and Rainer were able to find a picture of Schott who they recognized from Wednesday night. They turned over their information to the police.
"It's something we feel pretty good about," Lantz said.

The first call to the police about the assault came in at 4:48 a.m., initially reported as an attempted rape. The woman was taken to Pullman Regional Hospital. Police collected DNA evidence from the scene, Sorem said.

The second suspect is described as around six feet tall with a muscular build and short blond hair, according to a Pullman Police news release. He is said to have a tattoo of a solid triangle on the back of his neck and an ammunition belt around his right thigh. Police believe there may also have been a third subject involved, who stood guard outside the houses.

As a result of the break-ins, the Greek community is focusing more on safety. Anita Cory, the director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, sent an e-mail to leaders of Greek houses on Thursday encouraging members to contact the police if there are any suspicious intruders or issues. She also warned that if any organization has participated in “pranks” that involve break-ins, the police will pursue the activity as a real crime.

“No matter the believed situation, we expect and encourage you to contact the Pullman Police Department with any suspicious intruders, issues, etc.,” Cory wrote. “If there is a pattern, the PPD will be best able to identify it quickly and allow you to keep your members and your facility safe.” Cory did not respond to a message left on her office phone Thursday afternoon.
Sorority presidents will meet next Wednesday to discuss safety at their houses, a result of the early morning break-ins, Panhellenic spokeswoman Britni Freiboth said.
“Hopefully what they’re going to do is just use each other’s ideas and make each other safer,” she said.

Sororities and fraternities are among the safest places to live in Pullman, Freiboth said.
Fraternities will also meet sometime soon to see how they could help sororities be safer on the hill, Interfraternity Council spokesman Taylor Worth said. “We will meet to see how the boys can help out,” he said. But immediately, Tennant said residents should take a few minutes to make sure they are secure in their homes. Also, if things look suspicious, do not be afraid to contact the police.

“We encourage people to call in suspicious people and suspicious activity,” he said. “A lot of time people don’t call in stuff because they think we’re busy and we don’t care ... but honestly that’s how we solve a lot of crimes.”

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