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Two students arrested for prowling over President's Office
STANFORD -- Stanford police early Wednesday morning, March 29, arrested two students who were caught prowling in the attic over the Office of the President and elsewhere in the Main Quad.
Stanford Police Capt. Raoul Niemeyer said Jose E. Alcorta, 21, a junior, and Clark W. Bailey, 20, a senior, both majoring in physics, were arrested shortly after officers responded to a motion detection alarm that was set off at 1:15 a.m..
Each was booked on charges of burglary and being in possession of burglary tools, in this case flashlights. It was the third such incident in the past two weeks in the Main Quad.
The two told officers they were just "exploring," but Niemeyer said authorities are taking these cases very seriously, and caution that officers presume anyone found snooping around in the attics to be a felony burglar.
"We don't want to hear any more of these stories," Niemeyer said. "This is not a game; this is not a place to go 'exploring.¹ ²
One of the suspects was caught trying to flee through the passageway over Building 60 by Deputy Ba´b Henderson, and the other captured just after he got out of the building and was walking away from Building 100.
It is believed the suspects gained entry to the attic through a trapdoor in Building 60, Niemeyer said.
Late Friday, March 17, four other students were caught prowling in the attic over Building 10 after the alarm sounded. In that case, the latch on the trapdoor leading to the offices below was discovered to be broken. Charges are pending as the investigation into that incident continues, Niemeyer said.
And, early the morning of March 24, alarms again went off in Building 10, indicating not only activity in the attic but in the office area as well, and that a door had been opened, probably as someone was fleeing, Niemeyer said. Officers responded within three minutes but no suspects were to be found.
In an unrelated incident Saturday night, March 25, four students and a recent graduate were arrested for allegedly breaking into the Stanford University Museum of Art, police said.
Niemeyer said the five were arrested and booked into the Santa Clara County jail in San Jose. They were released on their own recognizance after a hearing Tuesday, March 28. Arraignment will be held at a later date, pending completion of the police investigation into the incident.
The four students were identified as: Matthew J. Bengard, 21, a senior in biological sciences; Jacob Geoffrey Kuramoto, 21, a senior in economics; Timothy William Kutzkey, 19, a sophomore; and Alejandro Cessar Quezada, 19, a sophomore. The fifth suspect is Jose Francisco Farias, 23, a resident of Minneapolis who graduated in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in drama.
The four students are all residents of Beta House on campus, Niemeyer said. Each faces charges of burglary, conspiracy and evading arrest. In addition, Kuramoto faces charges of being in possession of burglary tools.
The alarm at the museum, which is closed because of damage from the 1989 earthquake, sounded at 1:58 a.m. Saturday, Niemeyer said. Stanford and Palo Alto police officers responded quickly and began investigating.
"When they saw the cops, they scattered into the woods around the museum," Niemeyer said of the suspects. Three of the suspects were detained east of the Oval; two others found hiding in a grassy area near Roth Way were sniffed out by "Gurtie," a Palo Alto police dog.
Police say the suspects are believed to have entered the museum's basement area by first going through a hole in a construction fence and then knocking out two plywood panels. They did not cause any additional damage or take anything from the museum, Niemeyer said.
In addition to criminal charges, the students may face university disciplinary actions in connection with the break-in.
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