A freshman was arrested in Hatch residence hall after dozens of pairs of stolen women’s underwear were found in his room.
Kevin Waida, 19, was arrested on charges of stealing and stalking. The department was notified by a female resident of Hatch residence hall, MUPD spokesman Brian Weimer said.
"One of the victims called us over because she was missing items," he said.
Weimer was unable to give an exact number, but Hatch residents estimate as many as 200 pairs of underwear were stolen.
Freshman resident and Maneater staff member Elissa Chudwin was one of the residents whose underwear was taken from the laundry room dryers.
"I didn't realize it at first, since my underwear being missing is not my top priority," Chudwin said. "I really didn't notice until I had five or six left. I just assumed they were lost and started cleaning my room, but then my friend said it was becoming a problem in Hatch."
Freshman Maggie Charland said she had previous encounters with Waida in the laundry room that made her suspicious.
"Two weeks ago, I was the only one doing laundry and (Waida) came down there at one point," Charland said. "He left and came back three separate times. At one point, my roommate came down and I was hiding because he had been staring at me. Every time he came up and down to the laundry room with nothing with him — no laundry basket, no detergent. I was not comfortable being down there with him."
Weimer said six victims have come forward about missing underwear, but several Hatch residents believe the number is higher.
"As time went on, word just got around," Charland said. "I knew a handful of girls it happened to, then a couple more came up and so on, so who knows how many there are. It's been happening since at least January."
Although the disappearances have been ongoing, Waida's roommate, freshman Paul Sponsler, said the situation escalated in the past week.
"There had been suspicion on the floor, and the girls asked me to keep a lookout (Wednesday)," he said.
Sponsler said he opened one of Waida's drawers Wednesday and found all of the pairs of underwear. He took a picture of the drawer and sent it to his peer advisor, and MUPD officers arrived later. Waida was present and gave his consent for police to search the room.
Waida was arrested on charges of stalking and stealing and taken to Boone County Jail, Weimer said. Waida was released Thursday on a $1,500 bond, according to Boone County records.
MUPD has asked the female residents to come to the station and identify the pairs that were stolen from them, Charland said.
"I went to MUPD to give an additional statement, and (the underwear) was all on the table," she said. "We had to point out which ones are ours, and they marked them and took pictures. They said we could take them back with us, but I said no thanks."
Chudwin said it took her a while to figure out what was going on, but it started to make sense when other female residents started to come forward.
“The last thing on my mind was my underwear going missing,” she said. “It's a very bizarre situation. I feel a little violated, but it's more strange than anything.”