'I pretty much thought it was a scam'

'I pretty much thought it was a scam' »Play Video
Anthony Neil

EUGENE, Ore. -- The young man said he was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at another college, visiting the University of Oregon on Friday to sell magazine subscriptions.

As students and their parents moved in to Tingle Hall in the Hamilton Complex on the University of Oregon campus, Anthony Neil, 20, walked into the dorm and talked to students -- and highlighted an important safety message for the campus community.

"He was saying he was from the ROTC at some other school but that he wasn't in college yet and was trying to sell magazines," said Adrianna Creese, a Tingle Hall resident.

"I mean, I didn't buy any," said Carly Cotter, another Tingle Hall resident, "but I pretty much thought it was a scam."

Someone caught on that Neil wasn't a student and called campus police, who took him into custody -- only to find out he wasn't just trespassing.

"They did some research on his name," Carolyn Mcdermed, deputy chief of the UO's Department of Public Safety. "He initially provided a false name."

They confirmed the man was Neil, a fugitive from the law wanted in Washington for burglaries. There is no indication Neil took anything from the dorms.

Dorms at the UO are supposed to be locked and secure. School officials speculated that doors may have been propped open, and there were a lot of people coming in and out.

Students told KVAL News it's actually somewhat easy to get into the dorms on any given day.

"I mean you need a key to get into them," Cotter said, "but people will let you in if it looks like yo'ure stuggling or waiting for someone or something."

School officials said students need to share the reponsibilities of safety.

Never let anyone in who doesn't have a key. Call campus police about anything suspicious. And above all, use commone sense.

"If they truly belong there then they can go through the channels to get the correct identification required," Mcdermed said.

So is campus safe?

"I've only been here two days," Cotter said, "but so far, yeah."