A Portland State student was attacked and robbed in his campus apartment Saturday evening after opening his door to a stranger.
Joel Koberstein, a 25-year-old senior Political Science major, said that around 8 p.m. a man asking for "Jessie" appeared on the doorstep of his home at St. Helens Court on 1131 S.W. Montgomery St. When Koberstein informed him that no one by the name lived there, two additional men "came out of nowhere and just tackled me."
Koberstein said the men were all between 25 and 30. The largest of the three, whose face was concealed by a bandana, held Koberstein down, pressing his face into the floor as he instructed the other two men to look for Koberstein’s wallet and to smash the phone.
"He had obviously done this before," Koberstein said.
One of the men removed Koberstein’s wallet from his front pocket. The men then blindfolded him with a pair of jeans and ransacked his apartment, going through all of the drawers in the kitchen, even checking the medicine cabinet.
"I don’t even have Tylenol," Koberstein said.
The men stole Koberstein’s wallet, keys and cell phone, items Koberstein estimated were worth more than $1,000. The wallet contained about $40, an assortment of credit cards and a birthday check from his grandmother.
When the men left, Koberstein heard them run out the front of the building. "I was really afraid to take the blindfold off." He said the police responded in less than five minutes to the 911 call placed at 8:35 p.m. At press time, a police report was unavailable, but Koberstein said the police suspected the men were looking for drugs.
Koberstein said he thinks that someone exiting the secured building had probably let the men in. Campus security changed his locks the same night, and the next day the lock at the main entrance of the building was changed.
Shaken up but physically unharmed by the incident, Koberstein said he has no plans to move. "I’m not afraid. I think the chances of them coming back are pretty slim," he said. "I don’t think I would open the door to a stranger again. It’s too bad … you can’t be part of a community if you can’t open your door to your neighbors."
Koberstein would like the experience to be a catalyst encouraging improved campus safety. He says his car has been broken into in Parking Structure 3 several times in the past few months, and that there should be cameras and more security phones on campus.
"I don’t see this as an isolated incident," he said. "What is the university going to do to try and prevent this kind of thing from happening?"