NAU authorities search for impostors posing as workers to gain access to dorm rooms

Authorities investigate maintenance worker impersonator incidents at NAU campus.

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. - Northern Arizona University police are warning students of impostors who are trying to gain access to on-campus housing by posing as maintenance workers.

Since the beginning of the semester police have received three reports of men asking students to allow them into a dorm room, the most recent one on Sept. 20.

Investigators aren’t sure if there are multiple men or just one, according to Lt. Brad Mihalik with the NAU Campus Police Department.

“We were given descriptions of the suspects and they don’t seem to jive, to match, like they’re the same people,” said Lt. Mihalik. “However, the circumstances and method of operation is similar.”

In each case, the man approached a woman going into her dorm or knocked on specific rooms within the building and told them they had orders to repair something in a room.

“That’s kinda scary because, honestly, I probably would have let them in,” said Merissa Sullivan, a freshman who lives on-campus.  

The descriptions given for each incident varied but all cases the victims say the person who requested access was an older man that was not wearing official NAU clothing.

One woman reported that the man claimed he had a work order and showed her a document she was unable to read.

“Nobody produced any ID, to my knowledge,” said Lt. Mihalik. “The one group that was trying to gain access to the residence room through the outside, through the door, had some sort of paper.”

Each of the students who spoke with the impostors questioned why they needed access and what needed to be repaired. The students tried to verify the requests by contacting the student housing office and on-campus maintenance to see if a work order had been submitted.

“Thankfully, they had the presence of mind to not take what they said at face value,” said Lt. Mihalik.

To gain entry to on-campus dorms, each resident is given a key card with access to their specific dorm.

“I think they should make it more known for students not to let other people in,” said Sullivan. “Make them scan their own key card.”

Anyone who works with the university should be dressed in shirts with the NAU or American Campus Communities logo embroidered on the front.

“They wear official NAU shirts,” said Lt. Maihiak. “They also are all required to carry a photo ID that identifies them as part of that department.”

Police are asking the public to stay alert and call 928-523-3000 if they notice any suspicious activity.

“Question people, ask for that ID. If they’re not able to produce it certainly something is amiss,” said Lt. Mihalik. “The hard thing is we can’t be everywhere at once so we need the community’s help.”

Surveillance cameras that are located at the entrance and exits of all on-campus dorms are also being reviewed by police. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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