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Student attempts break-in at Africa House

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A St. Olaf student attempted to break into the Africa House on Sept. 5 at approximately 1:15 a.m. The altercation lasted 15 minutes in total.

Marvellous John ’21, a resident of the house, was present for the altercation.

“We heard a disturbance outside of the window on the left side of the house, towards the other house – the Russian House beside us,” John said. “It was an occurrence happening outside on the other lawn, so we thought it was the other house having a discussion with somebody.”

An individual then approached the Africa House and started knocking on the door.

“We came down to find out who it was,” John said. “We thought we had a visitor, which is awkward because it’s 1:30 in the morning – and it turned out it was not someone we knew.”

Kgomotso Magagula ’21, another resident of the Africa House, recalled her first interactions with the perpetrator.

“We asked him to leave a couple of times and in some way it looked like he started walking away,” Magagula said. “He came back. He didn’t really seem like he knew where he was.”

“He asks for someone called Peter” John said. “He starts yelling ‘Peter, Peter, come out, come out.'” – Marvellous John ’21

The perpetrator was on the phone and seemed as if he was looking for something.

“We thought he was going to leave because he just was lost because he was on the phone talking to somebody, so we thought, you know, misdirection,” John said. “We knew he was a student because he had told the person he was talking to on the lawn earlier that he was from Ytterboe.”

The residents of the Africa House then made the decision to call Public Safety.

“We called Pub Safe to see if they could come pick him up,” John said. “So we were on the phone with Pub Safe and they were on the way.”

That was when the perpetrator started yelling for somebody named Peter.

“He asks for someone called Peter,” John said. “He starts yelling, ‘Peter, Peter, come out, come out.’”

The residents of the Africa House told the perpetrator that no one named Peter lived there, but the perpetrator was adamant.

“He did not seem like he knew where he was,” John said. “A bit delusional.”

Then the perpetrator tried to break into the house.

“He thought Peter lived here and we were just lying to him,” John said. “The point at which Pub Safe had to come and really handle the situation, because before it was just going to be a  pickup, was when he tried to break into the house.”

Then Public Safety arrived.

“Pub Safe came 3 to 5 minutes later within that period of yelling and that was it,” John said. “They took the young man away. We still don’t know who he is.”

The residents of the Africa House spoke with Assistant Dean of Students for Programming and Assessment Joshua Lee about the incident.

“Josh is in charge of all the house incidents,” John said. “So they relayed the Pub Safe incident report to him and then he reached out to us so we had a meeting with him last Friday.”

According to the residents’ knowledge, the perpetrator is no longer attending St. Olaf.