Stranger Walks into Two Sandy Hill Residences; Startles Women

The hectic nature of everyday life often causes us to overlook the dangers that could fall upon us at any moment. With our minds filled with thoughts about school, work, midterms and stress, it seems as though there isn’t time to think about safety.

Our personal safety is of the utmost importance. But, when our privacy is invaded, we may be at a loss of what to do. Something as simple as not locking your front door could put you in serious danger. Could forgetting to lock your door have serious consequences?

The answer came this past Sunday.

An area dominated mostly by students, Sandy Hill, is relatively calm and quiet. With the exception of sporadic parties, the students are absorbed within their studies and day-to-day lives. The calm was broken on Sunday morning, when a strange man entered the homes of not one, but two women. The individuals residing within them were not harmed, but obviously shaken up. Her Campus U Ottawa was able to interview one of the victims about the incident:

“I cannot explain how absolutely horrified, disgusted, and helpless you feel when a stranger comes into your home, much less your bedroom when you are in such a vulnerable state.”

The woman claims to have woken up to a large, dark figure standing inches away from her bed. Not realizing what had woken her, she stared directly at his features.

“What I do remember are big eyes below a prominent brow bone and darker skin. The man was wearing a light coloured button up or zip up loose fitting coat/sweater/shirt. He stood approximately 6 feet tall and had a bald or shaved head. It did not take me long to realize that in my pitch black room I had nothing to harm the man near me.”

Not knowing what else to do and lacking any weapon, she screamed for her roommates, which caused the man to run out of her house. Within seconds, her roommates ran into her room alerted by her cries. They called the police, who arrived at the scene immediately. The officers were unable to find the intruder, but said that a similar break-in had happened within the last hour at another house in the area. 

 “You don’t realize how easily your sense of confidence and security can be taken away from you. I find myself thinking of all of the things I should have done in the situation and why this man did what he did. Who he is? Does he have friends and family?  Is he aware of what he did? Does he live in this neighbourhood? The questions are endless and unsettling for sure.”

This incident highlights a problem for the greater Ottawa region. Albeit, it’s not as common as a vehicle collision, when one is defenceless against a stranger and vulnerable to any type of assault, it sure can hold the same degree of fear. It can leave you feeling violated and insecure. The simple notion that harm can fall upon us at any time can instantly numb the heart and paralyze our bodies. You may be lulled into a false sense of security when you are in your own home, but it is important to take some precautions to ensure this does not happen to you.

According to, one of the ways to keep your home safe is to put a “beware of dog” sign on your lawn. Even if you don’t have a dog, this will warn intruders to stay away. Another great tip is to keep your home lit up from the outside through the use of lawn lights. Motion sensor lights will also alert you to anything suspicious outside your house. Keep all your windows and doors locked. Open windows can be seen as an open invitation into your home. If you have an alarm, be sure to set it each time you leave the house.

 “If there is a message I could send out it would simply be to be overly protective of yourself. Know how to react, whether it be a person hassling you on the street or someone in your home. I had no connection to this man and as far as I know it was completely random that on this one night a door had been left unlocked.”

The police released this surveillance photo of the intruder on September 30th:

Much to Sandy Hill residents’ relief, the suspect was identified by the public and arrested on Thursday. Thirty-four year-old Martin Dupuis was charged with 3 counts of breaking and entering; sexual assault; attempt to commit an indictable offence; theft under $5000; breach of undertaking; and trespass at night. His crimes are believed to be sexually motivated. Dupuis is scheduled to appear in court Friday. The police believe there may possibly be other cases that involve Dupuis and urge any past victims to contact Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222, ext. 4533 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS).

Although the suspect has been captured, areas with a high student concentration continue to attract burglars. Always make sure your doors are locked when you leave the house and before you go to sleep.

Stay safe collegiettes!

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