Intruder removed after entering Lafayette Hall

An intruder entered Lafayette Hall and interacted with students before being removed by police on Sunday evening, in the fourth dorm trespassing incident at NYU in two weeks.

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Samson Tu

An intruder evaded security at Lafayette Hall Sunday evening. (Samson Tu for WSN)

An intruder bypassed security, jumped a turnstile and entered NYU’s Lafayette Hall dorm at around 5:40 p.m. on Sunday. He was found 20 minutes later by an officer from NYU’s Campus Safety Department and escorted from the building by police. In that time, he interacted with two students inside of the building.

A student noticed the man in the building and alerted residence hall staff, who notified Campus Safety and the New York City Police Department.

The intruder, identified by Campus Safety as a man named Andrew Crosst, was found in a stairwell. He did not give reasons for his actions, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman. Beckman said Campus Safety officers arrived at Lafayette minutes after they were informed of the incident, and that the NYPD arrived a few minutes after. 

‘We take this unauthorized intrusion — as we do all unauthorized intrusions into residence halls — very seriously, particularly as it comes so soon after the incident at Third North,” Beckman said.

Lafayette residents were only notified the next day, in an email sent shortly after 11 a.m. by residence hall director Joe Liberatore.

[Why do intruders keep getting into NYU dorms? Tell us what you think.]

NYU junior Khafira Freeman said that Crosst followed her and another student into the elevator after he entered the building. When Crosst exited the elevator on her floor, Freeman decided to hide in the laundry room, but he followed after her. She tried to hold the laundry room door closed, but Crosst was able to open it. He proceeded to ask her if she was hiding from him.

Freeman then ran to her room, locked the door and reported the incident to Campus Safety and building staff.

“As I was running to my room, he was like, ‘Where do you live? I want to see where you stay,’” Freeman recalled. “I didn’t say anything. I opened the door and closed the door — I locked it, I went to my roommate. She grabbed a knife.”

She said that she filed a complaint later that day due to a lack of communication from Campus Safety after the altercation.

“The problem is that there’s no constant communication when it’s happening — when I’m scared in my room.”

Police remove an intruder from Lafayette Hall on Sunday evening. (Courtesy of Michael Colombos)

Another junior, Damascus Lee, who is a resident assistant at Lafayette, said he became aware of the intruder after a police officer arrived and told him to lock the door of his room. He added that Campus Safety should have sent residents an email alerting residents that an intruder was in the building at the time of the incident.

“This is a very unfortunate situation and I’m very sad that this happened, and I can understand why people wouldn’t feel safe in Lafayette or by this area after that happened,” Lee said. “I really don’t want this to make people feel scared or feel unsafe, because even though this was a very terrible incident and this is something that I can see why it would up your fears, I do genuinely feel safe in this area.”  

Five days prior, an intruder evaded the university’s Third Avenue North residence hall. Despite an eight-hour search, Campus Safety and the NYPD were not able to find the trespasser. That intruder entered a resident’s room while the student was asleep and stared at the student before leaving.

Earlier this month, another intruder evaded security at Alumni Hall and Coral Tower in separate incidents reported two hours apart. A Coral Tower resident said that Campus Safety officers did not take them seriously when they said they may have come in contact with the intruder inside of the building.

Last April, another intruder entered Rubin Hall on at least three occasions. The man stayed in the residence hall’s lounges overnight twice, according to several residents. He came in contact with students inside of the dorm and followed several female students as they exited. Fountain Walker, the head of Campus Safety, later said that the department’s response to the intruder fell short.

Lafayette also had a repeat dorm intruder last year, when a non-NYU-affiliated woman made sexually suggestive comments to residents after entering their suite. 

Beckman said that a photo of Crosst, the man who entered Lafayette Hall, has been distributed to Campus Safety posts in university residence halls for officers to identify him in the future.

“The response was prompt and effective, but Campus Safety leadership will be reviewing the incident to see if there are lessons that can be learned to prevent repeats,” he said.

Correction, Nov. 21 at 12:45 p.m.: An earlier version of this article specified that the intruder was apprehended. There is no arrest record for a person with his name. The article has been updated to reflect the correction. WSN regrets the error.

Contact Carmo Moniz, Lauren Ashe and Tori Morales at [email protected]