The University of New Hampshire community wants police to find out who is snipping off the clothes of female students while they sleep.
Police have received six different reports from young women who say a male intruder entered their off-campus apartments in the middle of the night. They say the man cut off or removed their clothing as they slept.
While none of the victims was injured, some said they were horrified when they woke to find their clothes snipped off.
The most recent incident happened on Aug. 6 at an off-campus apartment. A female student and her friend who was visiting from Massachusetts became victims as they slept.
Bethany Faulkner, a neighbor of one of the victims, says everyone is worried.
"Her friend woke up just in her underwear and everything was off, and then she woke up with her shirt cut down the middle and she was frightened beyond belief," Faulkner said.
Some have dubbed the intruder "Jack the Snipper," but Jenna Bardzik, a neighbor of one of the victims, says there is nothing funny about the terrifying attacks.
"My neighbors are scared," Bardzik said. "It's a scary thing to have someone come in your house and cut off your clothes."
Police Chief Urges People to Lock Doors
Durham Police Chief Dave Kurz said police have been following up about two dozen leads they have received since they went public with the crime. He will not discuss what was used to cut the clothes. In each of the cases, the man has gained access to the apartments because the doors were unlocked, Kurz said.
"Some [victims] have awoken and some have not. Some don't know what happened, frankly," Kurz said.
Kurz said the intruder may be targeting female students who are returning from bars late at night.
"One of the challenges we have here is it is a university environment and there are a lot of people walking around late at night," he said. "While we're trying to run an investigation, we're also balancing that with the need to try to tell our community that in fact there are some issues that they need to be thinking of — not leaving their doors unlocked, walking with friends, walking in lighted areas."
The college dorms have been empty for the summer break. The break-ins have occurred off campus, in residential neighborhoods around downtown Durham, which has a year-round population of less than 8,000.
Investigators are looking into incidents that happened in the nearby towns of New Market and Dover. There are some similarities and some differences, and police do not know if the cases are connected.
Some students have said that there are peeping toms on the campus as well, but those cases are the domain of the campus police, Kurz said. Still, even marginally similar incidents are being investigated for possible connections.