A man who allegedly committed multiple felony burglaries and trespassed on the Colorado College campus over a month-long period was apprehended and arrested early Tuesday morning after tips from vigilant students led officials to his front door.
Todd Hanson, 29, of the 2800 block of Sage St. just northwest of campus off Fillmore Ave., was taken into custody by police at his home around 4:50 a.m. He surrendered to police 40 minutes following contact.
Hanson saw an opportunity in the CC community and its unlocked doors, plenty of valuables and easy access to crowded dormitories, said Jason Newton, Campus Resource Officer. For nearly a month he roamed campus, stealing anything he could find from unattended dorm rooms until his luck ran out.
In all, he racked up a laptop, a backpack, a jewelry case and a iPod dock.
Hanson has been charged with three counts of felony, second-degree burglary, first-degree felony criminal trespass of a dwelling, and four counts of second-degree misdemeanor criminal trespass.
He is currently being held at the El Paso County Jail in lieu of bail.
“He saw an easy target and knew that students left their rooms unlocked,” Newton said. “When he came back our students just called him out on it.”
Hanson first came to campus on Sept. 24 when he allegedly stole a backpack from a room in Slocum Hall before fleeing after students called Campus Safety to report a suspicious individual.
On Oct. 9 he returned again and stole two more items from Slocum, but not before a compilation of security footage and student reports led to a thorough description of the subject, said police.
When Hanson returned on Monday, Newton and Campus Safety officers were waiting and ready.
“We had a couple calls on Tuesday,” Pat Cunningham, Director of Campus Safety said. “We had the calls at Loomis and Slocum [in the afternoon], then again at Slocum around 8:45. A student called and told us he was on the third floor. [Campus Safety] officers stopped, talked to him and asked for his ID. We called CSPD and then he grabbed his ID and fled on foot.”
That short interaction, however, was enough for Newton to begin drawing up papers for a warrant.
“I sent officers to his address and they sat outside his house,” Newton said. “He peered out of the blinds at which point we identified him and gave him commands to surrender.”
After a search warrant was issued later that morning, Newton found some of the stolen items and located the heisted laptop at a local computer store. According to Newton, Hanson’s backpack contained several changes of clothes and different baseball caps that were seen in campus surveillance footage.
When Newton began to question him, Hanson started telling what appeared to be blatant lies.
“He said he was on campus trying to pick up girls,” Newton said. “Eventually he confessed.”
Hanson told police that he saw CC as an opportune place to burglarize and that he had no problems accessing the buildings he entered, simply “piggy backing” off other students’ Gold Card swipe access.
One time he even sat on a couch in the Slocum lobby, waiting for someone to let him in.
“I think it’s an educational component,” Cunningham said of the “piggy backing” problem. “One thing I have seen at CC is how so many students know each other, so I don’t think it is going to happen again… One of the big things with [Hanson] is how he waited around the lobby for someone to open the door.”
Cunningham praised students who called Campus Safety to report the suspicious activity, and said that without the response to community e-mails and Tiger Watch initiatives, Hanson could have continued to pose a threat to the community.
“He didn’t have any weapons [when he was arrested], but we don’t know what he would have done if the opportunity presented itself,” Newton said regarding Hanson’s lack of aggression towards students”
There are a group of thieves and criminals within Colorado Springs who particularly target college campus, according to police and Campus Safety. Those individuals often commit crime between local campuses.
In 2008, Hanson was charged with a drug offense on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus.
Recently a man who had committed thefts at CC and Pikes Peak Community College was arrested. He too stated that the ease of targets made the campuses especially attractive to commit crime, officials said.
Some of the recovered stolen goods will be immediately returned to their owners, but the rest will be kept with the district attorney’s office and used as evidence in the ensuing court proceedings.
“I think this is one of those events that shows the great relationship between CSPD and campus safety,” Cunningham said. “We didn’t want to wait [to make the arrest] because Hanson was an ongoing threat.”