Students admit to Mod burglaries

W. Morris Fierman | The Bucknellian Jeffrey Finegan '14 and Carter Wells '14 stole laptops by breaking in through a living room window.
W. Morris Fierman | The Bucknellian
Jeffrey Finegan ’14 and Carter Wells ’14 stole laptops by breaking in through a living room window.

W. Morris Fierman

News Editor

University students Jeffrey Finegan ’14 and Carter Wells ’14 were arraigned and released on payment of $25,000 bail each on Feb. 27, facing charges of criminal trespassing, receiving stolen property and burglary.

Finegan was the president of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, a position he has since resigned. Wells is also a member of Delta Upsilon.

The pair admitted to Public Safety Officers to entering Mods 7 and 10, removing laptop computers, textbooks, cash and other items valued by police at more than $9,600.

On Feb. 24, Delta Upsilon brothers Michael Maneri ’13 and Andrew D’Abbraccio ’15, who has since become president of Delta Upsilon, arrived at the Department of Public Safety wishing to speak with an officer. They reported to officers Paul Shipton and Trace Nevil that Finegan was responsible for the thefts.

Maneri had loaned his car to Finegan on Feb. 16 and later found out that Finegan had used it to carry out the burglaries, according to the official criminal complaint filed with the Union County Courthouse.

Two other Delta Upsilon Brothers, Nathan Opalinski ’15 and Justin Meshulam ’15, accompanied Finegan to Mod 10 on Feb. 9, planning to pull a prank on the occupants by rearranging the furniture. They witnessed Finegan remove several items from the room, placing them in his backpack, the report continues.

Finegan later gave Opalinski $60 and Meshulam $40, money that was handed over to Public Safety officers during an interview. Finegan also invited Opalinski to accompany him on a second burglary the next weekend, but he refused.

On Feb. 16, Finegan broke into Mod 10 via an unlocked living room window, handing several laptops through the window to accomplice Wells, who placed them into Wells’s car. The two then moved on to Mod 7, entering through an unlocked door and removing several more laptops, cash and backpacks full of textbooks.

They then told Opalinski and Meshulam about the incident, who asked them to return the stolen items or put them in a public place where they could be found. They were told by Finegan that several of the items were already being sold on the internet.

After receiving the “Timely Notice Warning” in an email from Public safety on Feb. 18, Finegan and Wells became nervous, and later claimed that Wells placed the laptops against a dumpster in a bag behind a Kohl’s department store in Selinsgrove, Pa., where he was shipping out several of the textbooks he had already sold online. The laptops have not been found.

Several days later, Opalinski and Meshulam told Maneri and D’Abbraccio about the incident, who then turned Finegan and Wells in to Public Safety. Public Safety carried out search warrants on Finegan’s room, Wells’ room and Wells’ car, according to Public Safety Chief Stephen Barilar. Both were interviewed by Public Safety Officers and admitted to the burglaries.

Finegan presented the officers with receipts from websites textbooksRus.com and ecampus.com where he had already sold several of the stolen textbooks.

Andrew Kilman ’15, a resident of Mod 7 who’s MacBook Pro and marketing textbook were stolen, found it hard to believe that this sort of thing could happen at the University.

“The Public Safety Officers that interviewed all of us didn’t even think that it was Bucknell students before those two guys confessed,” Kilman said.

He and his roommates, who were robbed of a Macbook Pros, wallets containing cash and credit cards, and a large number of textbooks, felt comfortable leaving their door open before the burglaries. Kilman said that “now we obviously lock our doors.”

Victims of the robberies were told that if Finegan and Wells were found guilty they would be contacted by the pair or their attorneys who would arrange compensation for the stolen items.

“Their actions at the Mods are not congruent with the values of Delta Upsilon. Currently Mr. Finegan and Mr. Wells are suspended as a brothers. We will continue to move forward as a chapter having cooperated fully with the administration and authorities,” D’Abbraccio said. 

Finegan and Wells are no longer on campus and are awaiting the formal procedures outlined in the University Code of Conduct. These procedures will determine the University’s response, according to Dean of Students Susan Lantz. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing at the Union County Courthouse on March 28.

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