NEWARK, N.J. - Police are investigating whether the senior class president of Rutgers University's Livingston College - who is also its reigning pageant queen - teamed up with her boyfriend for a string of dormitory burglaries.
Christa Olandria, who last year was crowned "Ms. R.U." at the school's annual pageant, has been barred from graduation and could be denied a degree.
The 23-year-old Rahway resident and George Calhoun, 23, of the Jamaica section of New York City, who is also a Rutgers student, are charged with burglary, theft and criminal attempt for the burglary of a dorm room in the building where Olandria worked as a resident assistant, said E.J. Miranda, a spokesman for the university.
A student on Monday found Calhoun in a locked dorm room stuffing a duffel bag with items, authorities said.
Shortly after Calhoun was spotted, student Richard Thompson, along with other students, barricaded the front doors of the residence hall so that Calhoun could not escape before campus authorities arrived.
"He was not getting out, we were so fed up," Thompson said yesterday. "They put a lot of students through a lot of stress during finals."
Both Calhoun and Olandria were arrested about 7:30 p.m. Monday and were later released on $2,500 bail, Miranda said.
Authorities suspect the pair used a master key that Olandria had been issued to access the rooms in the South Tower residence hall. All resident assistants are given master keys in the event that a student gets locked out of a dorm room, Miranda said.
Five other burglaries were reported in the building since late April.
Two phone calls placed by the Associated Press to Olandria's home in Rahway went unanswered. A telephone listing was not found for Calhoun.
Thompson said students had been leaving their televisions and lights on to make it appear they were home and taking their laptops, iPods and cell phones with them when they left their rooms.
Joan Carbone, executive director of residence life for the university, said that in her 25 years there, she had never encountered a case of a resident assistant's being charged with breaking into dorm rooms.