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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Man accused of sneaking into UF residence hall, pulling fire alarm


A man was arrested after reportedly sneaking into a UF residence hall, pulling a fire alarm and entering the room of a female resident assistant, according to a University Police arrest report.

At approximately 3:15 a.m. Saturday, police responded to a fire alarm at Broward Hall and found Israel Pina, 25, hiding in the room of a female resident assistant. According to the report, Pina is accused of following a person into the dorm hall, which is secured by a key card, in order to gain access.

Authorities found the resident assistant’s door open and the room “in a state of disarray with objects thrown about and flipped over,” according to the report. The resident assistant said Pina didn’t have permission to be in her room.

Pina, who is not affiliated with UF, couldn’t explain to authorities why he was in the room, the report read.

According to the arrest report, Pina admitted to pulling the fire alarm after being read his Miranda rights. Police arrested him at 3:22 a.m. and took him to the Alachua County Jail.

Haley Wadsworth, a 19-year-old UF business administration freshman, said Pina approached her in the Broward garage at approximately 2:30 a.m. before he entered the residence hall.

Wadsworth said she had just gotten out of her car and was walking to the stairwell when he approached her.

“The man approached me and said, ‘Hey, can I talk to you,’” Wadsworth said.

Wadsworth told Pina she could not speak to him and began to walk quickly to the back stairwell. At this point, she said she noticed him following behind her. 

They were the only two people in the garage at the time, she said.

“He was walking really quickly to the stairwell, trying to catch up with me to try to get into the stairwell,” Wadsworth said. “I didn’t know what he was trying to do. I was scared that he was gonna attack me, try to hit me with something.”

Once she was inside the residence hall, she said she made sure to close the stairwell door and send a message to her floormates about what happened.

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Wadsworth evacuated the building once the fire alarm went off and found police already on the scene and Pina in handcuffs with two officers. At approximately 4 a.m., she spoke with police in the lobby and identified Pina to University Police, she said.

She said she’s still shaken from the incident and the “what if’s” of the situation.

“Overall everybody’s just a little more cautious and keeping the doors locked and making sure that no one follows them into the building,” Wadsworth said. 

In a Facebook message to The Alligator Sunday evening, Pina said the reports are false, and he was in a kitchen, not a girl’s room.

He called the incident “the worse nightmare ever” and wrote that “further details will come to light” when he goes to trial.

Pina faces charges of burglary, resisting arrest without violence and false fire alarm.

Contact Samia Lagmis at Follow her on Twitter @SLagmis.   

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