Campus Blotter: Man leaves threatening voicemails for English department

Madeline Fox, Summer Managing Editor

Northwestern University Police received a report Monday of repeated threatening phone calls to the English department’s office telephone beginning May 1.

A research assistant in the department had been receiving threatening phone calls and voicemails on the office line from a man purporting to be her cousin, Deputy Chief Dan McAleer said. The caller had a Southern accent and, in the voice messages, verbally threatened the research assistant and the rest of the department if the assistant did not return his calls, McAleer said.

UP called the number associated with the threatening messages and reached a voicemail message that sounded like the individual who had been calling, he said. A UP officer left a message requesting that the individual contact UP to discuss the incident, he added.

The individual who reported the calls said the caller had phoned several times over the past few months. The research assistant intended to receive the calls is not currently in town, McAleer said.

UP was able to identify the subject’s name and location — he was calling from outside Illinois — but do not have any additional information, he said.

Identity thief sent copies of student transcript to California company

An individual used an NU student’s identifying information to request copies of the student’s transcript from the registrar’s office, McAleer said.

A person purporting to be a former NU student contacted the registrar’s office in May and used the student’s information to set up an account and then obtain copies of the student’s transcripts, he said.

The transcripts were sent to a company in California bearing a different name than the student to whom they belonged, McAleer said. The student whose transcripts were obtained and sent filed a report with the police department in Hayward, California, he said. The student told Hayward police that he may have known the individual who requested his transcripts, McAleer added.

A Hayward detective interviewed the individual the NU student identified. The individual denied committing identity theft and said his own wallet had recently been stolen, though he had not filed a police report and the alleged wallet theft occurred after the NU identity theft, McAleer said.

By issuing a subpoena, UP was able to determine which company received the transcripts — the company said it did not use the transcripts because it could not verify the information they had received in them, McAleer said.

Because the incident originated with the theft of transcripts from NU, UP will be the primary agency investigating the theft, McAleer said. The NU student whose transcripts were stolen has not decided whether to press criminal charges, he added.

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