By Shaun Chornobroff
A man who allegedly followed two Rider students to their dorm and looked into their rooms on Nov. 7 was charged with multiple crimes, according to Rider Public Safety and the Lawrence Township Police Department.
Johnny Rodriguez-Brito, 26, of Ewing, New Jersey, was charged with burglary, peering and harassment after allegedly following a pair of female Rider students into Lincoln Hall and attempting to peek under their door and into their room, according to a press release from the police department and emails from Public Safety.
In an email sent out at 1:48 p.m. on Nov. 7 alerting the university of the incident, Public Safety said the suspect, who the police department said was reportedly loitering around campus prior, was observed by the students touching himself. However, the Lawrence Police Department could not confirm that detail, stating they had no further information to release.
“Rider’s top priority is to keep our campus community safe. We’re grateful for the work of law enforcement and the cooperation of our campus community during this incident,” Rider’s Director of Public Safety James Waldon said in a Nov. 8 email alerting the community of Rodriguez-Brito’s arrest.
During the morning of Nov. 7, Public Safety was dispatched to Lincoln for a report of a suspicious person, according to Waldon.
Upon arrival, Public Safety identified an unknown male on Lincoln’s third-floor. The man explained he was a delivery driver, dropping off food inside the building. The male was then escorted off campus, Waldon said in an email to The Rider News.
Waldon said that an hour later Public Safety received additional information that “prompted further investigation into the incident.”
It was determined that the man identified in Lincoln had not been delivering food, at which point Lawrence Township Police was contacted and assisted with the investigation, Waldon said.
Detective James Steimle of the Lawrence Police Department was able to identify the male in Lincoln as Rodriguez-Brito and he was arrested that night, according to the police department.
Rodriguez-Brito was charged with third-degree burglary, peering — a fourth-degree offense that falls under criminal trespassing — as well as harassment, according to Lawrence Township Police.
He was then transferred to Mercer County Correctional Center and was awaiting a detention hearing when Lawrence Township Police sent out the press release at 1:10 p.m. on Nov. 8.
“We commend the students who came forward to report this incident, and are grateful for our partners in law enforcement who were able to act so quickly. This is an example of how important it is for everyone in our community to work together. Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Rider’s Associate Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown.
The incident was under investigation, according to Lawrence Township Police. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Steimle at email@example.com
If any members of the Rider community see a suspicious person or activity, report it to Public Safety at 609-896-5029.
Originally printed in the 11/9/22 issue.