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UBC student critical of school after room keys and contracts stolen from residence building

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A student at the University of British Columbia feels the school could have done more to prevent hundreds of room keys and student contracts from being stolen from a residence building.

Evan Croteau, a third-year human geography student says there hasn’t been much of a sense of security this week.

"It's really scary, honestly,” Croteau told CTV News Vancouver.

Croteau is one of more than 600 students living in the school’s Thunderbird residence, where according to UBC Student Housing, staff arrived early Monday morning to find that the building had been broken into.

The university says keys to students' front doors, as well as their contract cards were taken.

University RCMP say they arrested a man in his 30s who’s not a student, but only some of the keys were retrieved.

The school says it’s been working to change the locks, but Croteau says his won’t be changed until Friday.

"That's still five nights where someone could just walk off the street, into my room unnoticed,” he said.

Croteau says the contract cards contain extensive personal information and a picture.

"Certainly enough to start a bank account, from my understanding," he said. "Student names, date of birth, permanent address, contact information, medical information."

The main office inside the building where the alleged theft happened is currently under construction, and Croteau says the items were not secured properly.

"I think UBC Housing neglected to, during renovations, to keep our information somewhere safer and that's why this robbery occurred,” he said. “I think this was 100-per-cent preventable if the school had been more diligent."

UBC Student Housing disputes those claims.

"If somebody has an intention to break in and has the wherewithal and the equipment to do so, it's difficult to prevent that,” said associate vice president Andrew Parr.

“I’ve worked at UBC for more than two decades and we haven’t had a break in like this,” he added.

Parr did acknowledge that the Thunderbird building is one of the few residences without overnight security and CCTV cameras, which staff are now considering adding.

“We’re already thinking ahead to how we can mitigate or eliminate these risks,” he said. “Another question that arises is do we need paper copies? Or should we be keeping everything electronically?”

Croteau feels the enhanced security measures should have already been in place.

“We’re paying to be here, we’re paying to be safe,’’ he said. “The school isn’t holding up their end of that to keep us safe.”

Police say the suspect was released with a future court date, but as of now, no charges have been laid.

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