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SMPD investigating at least two unauthorized entries at off-campus complex

Carson Weaver
The entry gates to phase one at The Village on Telluride, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in San Marcos.

The University Star used nicknames and first names for multiple sources in this story to protect the residents at The Village on Telluride. 

Jen awoke at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 to a man standing in the bedroom of her San Marcos townhome. Jen soon realized the man was an intruder.

The San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) is investigating at least two cases of unauthorized entry into women’s townhomes at The Village on Telluride. Both women awoke to an unknown man in their bedrooms. 

“I just see the silhouette of a male figure who opened my door… I’m still half asleep,” Jen said. “I turn on my phone flashlight… I see the back of his head … And he just ran out of my room.”

The suspect, or suspects, stole two items from Jen’s townhome and was inside her apartment from 5:30 a.m. to 5:49 a.m. The suspect, or suspects, entered into another townhome at 6:00 a.m that same morning, according to the SMPD report.

SMPD is working to see if the two cases are connected.

Jen, whose townhome was broken into Sunday morning, has been staying 30 minutes away from San Marcos since Monday to feel safe.

“[Early Monday] I was up until like 3, 4 in the morning… I fell asleep a little bit then I wake up,” Jen said. “I’ve been staying at [someone else’s] house… we’re all just kind of on edge now.”

The detective assigned to the case declined to comment on the open investigation. 

An email the community manager of the complex sent Sept. 18 notified residents that security would be patrolling the complex in the early morning hours on certain days of the week. 

In the most recent email sent Sept. 22, the resident services manager said security would patrol the complex seven days a week in the early morning hours. Increased police presence will also be in the community.

In the same email, the resident services manager encouraged all residents to “kindly” lock their doors. 

“If you wish to enhance your security further, you are welcome to install ring cameras on your doors,” the email said.

According to the complex GroupMe with nearly 1,400 members, dubbed “Villages Neighborhood Watch”, many residents, mostly women, feel distressed and unsafe in their homes. 

Multiple residents at the complex have also said they have difficulty locking their front doors, back doors and bedroom doors. Some residents have filed maintenance requests to fix these locks.

A maintenance request The University Star obtained from a resident was listed as “same day priority” by the resident. According to the resident, the request was not filled by maintenance. 

According to Iris, a resident and criminal justice senior, some are finding ways to protect themselves and their roommates. 

“It definitely feels unsettling, because we literally have been putting chairs under our bedroom doors when we lock them at night just for extra security,” Iris said. 

Iris said she had no intention of getting a firearm until the crimes occurred. 

“Since this has happened, I’ve planned this weekend to go test out firearms at a range,” Iris said. “I’m going to buy a firearm because I’m so concerned.”

In the “Villages Neighborhood Watch” group chat, some residents have stepped up where they believe security has lacked.

Drew Harris, a 23-year-old resident, created a map detailing which apartments the suspect, or suspects, have visited. Harris, a hairstylist, updated the map with information from members of the GroupMe between hair appointments.

“Overall, we’re all kind of scared and hope we have guidance from security [at the complex],” Harris said. “I can definitely see that, soon, we’re probably going to take matters into our own hands.”

According to Harris, the map is being updated with new information as it comes in. 

Harris sent the map to the resident services manager. Harris said the complex, which has been “actively working closely with local authorities”, found it useful.

“If I was getting calls [about break ins] and if I was the manager at The Villages, I would have definitely already created this map,” Harris said. “I’m not a detective. I’m a hairstylist.”

The University Star will provide updates to this story as more information becomes available.

Nichaela Shaheen and Carson Weaver, both co-writers on this article, obtained information about this story from The Village on Telluride GroupMe group chat. 

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