Update (5:26PM): At 5:10PM, VP for Public Safety James McShane forwarded a Clery Crime Alert (see below) to all public safety emails detailing last night’s break-in. According to the alert, the break-in took place last evening at 10:08PM. The suspect entered Havemeyer 3000 Broadway, went inside offices on the 5th and 6th floor, and removed property. The suspect was then seen exiting the building wearing a lab coat and carrying property belonging to an affiliate.

Last night, two Chemistry labs experienced break-ins. In an email sent to the department, Director of Laboratories Jay Kirschenbaum revealed the “strong possibility that a master key was used”—leading to speculation that a CU affiliate may be responsible.

While the department works on changing its locks, Public Safety will station one or more officers in the building overnight. Students have reported seeing police around the vicinity of Havemeyer today, most likely investigating the incident.

Read the full email from the department below:

To all:

The department experienced  break-ins to an office and two labs last night.    Public Safety has been notified and we are following up with them, including checking video from security cameras.  We are still assessing what, if anything, was taken from the labs and offices.  There is a strong possibility that a master key was used, and so we are looking into changing all locks as a result.   Until that can be done, we are asking Public Safety to station one or more officers in the building overnight.

Please check your spaces to see if there is evidence of an intrusion and, if so, please report it immediately to Public Safety at 854-2796 and also to me at (917) 692-8510.   Until we get a better idea of the current risk, please do not keep personal property, laptops, cell phones, and other valuables  in your offices and labs overnight. I will keep everyone posted as new information is received.


Jay Kirschenbaum
Director of Laboratories
Department of Chemistry
Columbia University
New York, NY  10027

Burglar or confused post-doc?

Burglar or confused post-doc?