University of Miami police arrested William Cordero on Thursday outside Eaton Residential College in connection with four separate thefts that have occurred on campus.
Cordero has been charged with three counts of third-degree grand theft, three counts of burglary of an occupied dwelling, one count of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and one count of petty theft, according to the Miami-Dade Corrections website. Cordero’s most recent theft occurred Tuesday, when he allegedly stole three laptops from the office of the Association of Commuter Students (ACS) in the University Center.
Cordero, 29, is a “career criminal” who goes by the name Signal 100, according to Chief David Rivero of the UM Police Department (UMPD). He previously served time in prison between August 2004 and June 2010, and between January 2010 and May 2011.
He is currently being held at the Training and Treatment Center. Cordero was previously arrested for grand theft, burglary of an occupied dwelling and possession of cocaine.
Senior Kelly Hudgins was waiting for her sister, Brittany Hudgins, in the Department of Housing and Residential Life’s office in Eaton on Thursday when Cordero was arrested nearby.
Earlier, he had walked into the office and told Brittany, the office receptionist, he was going to drop something off in one of the back offices.
Kelly said Cordero was pushy and vague about what he wanted to drop off and who it was for. Still, Brittany escorted Cordero to an office, where he left a flier.
Cordero used a similar ruse to enter most of the areas he robbed, which included the Office of Financial Assistance.
When Cordero first walked in to the housing office, Kelly began “freaking out” because she recognized him from a UMPD crime alert email she received that day which showed a photo of Cordero. Brittany proceeded to call UMPD, who arrested Cordero about 10 minutes later outside of Eaton, Kelly said.
“I’m definitely going to pay attention to crime alerts more because you never know what’s going to happen on campus,” Kelly said.
Cordero was able to enter campus because UM is an open campus, meaning anyone can walk in and out, Rivero said.
If a person is acting suspiciously, however, UMPD can ask them to leave campus since it is private property.
“That’s what makes our job so hard here,” Rivero said. “We have so many visitors, we have so many folks that come to campus for good reasons. Then we have a few that come here for bad reasons.”
UMPD is currently trying to find the laptops and cellphones in local pawn shops and online websites, Rivero said.
Karam Alawa, one of the students who had his laptop stolen from the ACS office on Tuesday, recognizes UMPD’s efforts in recent thefts.
“Obviously, it’s a hard thing to do,” Alawa said. “The officer said it’s going to take some time [to find my laptop] and it hasn’t even been a full week yet. I think they are doing what they can.”