A man allegedly posed as a Stanford University student and lived in the dorms for nearly a year, school officials said.
The Stanford Department of Public Safety "cited, removed from campus, and issued a stay-away letter" to the man last Thursday, according to a statement from a university, after he was found living in a dorm basement.
The man, whom the school identified as William Curry, has been accused of squatting in university housing "several times" since December. The first time he was found living on campus, he was "cited for violating the law and removed."
"Since then, the university’s Department of Public Safety has obtained multiple stay-away letters, a prerequisite to citing someone for trespass on campus, to present to Mr. Curry but was unable to locate him until the most recent incident on October 27," Dee Mostofi, a spokesperson for the university, told BuzzFeed News.
Curry, who is 20 and from Alabama, was caught last week after allegedly stealing a television from the dorm basement, according to the Stanford Daily.
Beyond just residing on campus, Curry's alleged ruse went far deeper. He reportedly befriended many of his purported classmates, claiming to some that he'd transferred from Duke University, and listed himself as attending Stanford on Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder.
He even dated a student for several months, according to the school paper, telling the young woman he was a transfer student. After they broke up in June, she filed a report against Curry with campus police, alleging he was stalking and harassing her.
Mostofi confirmed to BuzzFeed News that an ex-girlfriend of Curry's had reported him to the Stanford Department of Public Safety, saying she had been concerned "that he had access to her phone password and could track her." "A report was taken but at the time it did not appear that there was any actionable harassment or stalking. She also stated that she was not in fear for her safety," Mostofi said.
Curry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News. But in an interview with the Stanford Daily, he denied his ex-girlfriend's allegations and claimed he could not "remember any other time" he'd been removed from campus before the most recent incident.
When asked why he'd impersonated a Stanford student, Curry told the school paper he “honestly, really couldn’t [say]” and was “just living the normal Stanford life, meeting people, socializing, as you do in college." Curry claimed to have convinced his high school classmates and even his parents he was actually attending Stanford and said he earns money by playing poker and trading cryptocurrency.
The Santa Clara County district attorney’s office had been considering bringing a criminal case against Curry in the spring, according to the school paper. A spokesperson for the district attorney's office did not confirm he was currently or previously under investigation but told BuzzFeed News they were "reviewing the matter."
Stanford is now reviewing its security measures in order to ensure they "do not allow for this type of incident to happen again," Mostofi said.
"While Stanford University has protocols and policies in place to prevent non-students from entering and living in our residences, the unique aspects of this case and Mr. Curry’s persistence and ability to ingratiate himself with our student community has made it clear that gaps exist in those protocols," Mostofi said.