Upper West Side Predator Intrudes Dorm Rooms, Touches Hair - NBC New York

Upper West Side Predator Intrudes Dorm Rooms, Touches Hair



    A college student in the Upper West Side says a man found his way to her room and wouldn't leave until she threatened to call for help. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011)

    Police are searching for a predator who has been breaking into dorm rooms on the Upper West Side and stroking the hair of female students as they sleep.

    The incidents have happened at the Amsterdam Residences, a building where students from the famed American Musical and Dramatic Academy stay.

    One victim, an 18-year-old college student from Atlanta, recounted the terrifying experience to NBC New York Monday.

    "He was just sitting there like he was supposed to be there, on my roommate's bed," said the student, Alia Callens. "He didn't even say anything until I was like, 'Wait, who are you?'"

    Alia Callens said at first she thought she was dreaming because she could not believe a strange man had sneaked into her dorm room.

    "He wouldn't leave and he kept on petting my hair," said Callens.

    She threatened to call for help, and that's when the intruder took off.

    Callens said she couldn't imagine how the creepy visitor got into her building, because a security guard has to buzz people in and check IDs. Residents are not allowed to have friends over.

    But Callens said she fell asleep and left her dorm room unlocked, and the man let himself in.

    "The second he left, I just broke down, I was so freaked out by the situation," said Callens.

    Callens said the man has struck before -- that same night, another student reported the man peeking into her room, and when he found her awake, said, "Wrong room," then left.

    Callens said she was told school security is looking into whether he stole things from other dorm rooms last month.

    "I'm just mad about the whole situation," said Callens. "I feel like I should have done more. I'm just happy I got out safe because it could've gotten a lot worse."

    Police do not have a sketch of the suspect, but Callens described him as a white man in his 20s, wearing a navy blue North Face hoodie.

    Despite the scare, Callens said she still felt safe living in her neighborhood. The building's security said they were installing more cameras.