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Securitas officers fired after dormitory intrusion

by Mike Disman / Beacon Staff • October 18, 2012

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An intruder, now in custody, entered the Little Building last Wednesday.
An intruder, now in custody, entered the Little Building last Wednesday.

Securitas officers mistakenly let in an intruder that was apprehended inside the Little Building on the morning of Oct. 10, according to Robert Smith, chief of the Emerson College Police Department. 

David Maglio, the 32-year-old Boston man who attempted to steal a laptop, cellphones, and a student’s identification card from various dorm rooms, posed as a building employee and convinced the Securitas officers on duty to allow him up the elevators on to dormitory floors, even though he did not have proper identification, said Smith.

According to Smith, ECPD was able to determine that Maglio was released from the Massachusetts General Hospital at 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Security cameras show him entering the Little Building at 6:22 a.m., at which point he made his way to the security desk on the second floor of the building.

The two Securitas officers, who claimed that employees occasionally enter the building without IDs, were fired by the college last Thursday, said Smith. 

“We did take prompt action once we determined how the person had gotten into the building,” said Smith. “Overall, Securitas officers are a very well-trained and vigilant group. But it’s inexcusable. They can’t let people in unless they have IDs or they’re signed in by an Emerson student as a guest.”

Securitas Security Services, an international security company, was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Beacon.

According to the Boston Police Department, Maglio has been arraigned, and further details of the arrest could not be provided. A representative from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached by reporters for comment. 

Smith said he felt that Emerson’s current nighttime security is sufficient, citing low crime statistics and noting that many crimes that occur are crimes of opportunity.

There was no official notification sent out to the Emerson community after Maglio’s arrest, which Smith said was his decision.

“We knew we had the subject in custody,” said Smith. “It was a judgment call on my part. I wasn’t trying to not notify the community. If we hadn’t caught him, we would’ve blasted out a notification.”

Smith said the ECPD officers on duty responded to the incident in a timely manner. 

“It’s regrettable that the person got in, but it highlighted a security deficit. We addressed it, we discovered it right away, and we had the intruder in cuffs within 15 minutes of it being reported to us.”

Smith was hesitant to blame the residents of the dormitory for leaving their doors open and prone to theft, although he urged residents to take more precaution.

“When you leave here, all of you go out to the world, and you’ll be living in large cities around the globe,” said Smith. “I tell my son and daughter in college the same thing. If you’re leaving your room, just lock it. That way you don’t have to worry about the laptop, cellphone, money, or wallet getting stolen.”

Smith said he credits the resident assistant from the 10th floor who reported the intruder to ECPD, with helping in a swift identification and arrest of the suspect.

“She did a great job,” said Smith. “She gave us a spot-on perfect description of what the person was wearing, what he looked like.”

After Maglio was arrested, ECPD contacted District A1 of the Boston Police Department, where he was then taken. 

While the intruder was let in by Securitas officers, Smith said that he is concerned by student reports of inattentive or sleeping security guards at night.

“That’s absolutely not what we have them here to do,” said Smith. “I’m hoping it’s not widespread, but it should not be happening at all. Securitas has supervisors on duty all day long, and they would want to know about that too. They take their job, like our job, very seriously.”


Correction: An eariler version of this article stated that Cara Rotschafer was the resident assistant that reported Maglio to ECPD. She was not the resident assistant who helped identify the intruder.