Police arrest suspect accused of burglary, attempted sexual assault on High Point University campus

Piedmont Triad News

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — High Point police arrested a suspect accused of burglary and attempted sexual assault on Sunday, according to the High Point Police Department.

Around 6:15 a.m., officers with the HPPD responded to the High Point University campus when they were told about a burglary and attempted sexual assault.

The suspect was identified as Phillippe Joseph Warren Saieed, 39, of Greensboro.

Saieed was reported to have been driving a black 2012 GMC Terrain with an NC Registration plate that reads JAK6736.

He was arrested on Redding Drive on Sunday afternoon.

He had outstanding warrants for two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of breaking and
entering, two counts of assault on a female and two counts of attempted first-degree rape.

According to the warrants, Saieed broke into a dormitory and tried to “sexually attack” two women. He is accused of striking and shoving them. He is also accused of breaking into Smith Library and Wrenn Hall.

Saieed is being held in the High Point City Jail under a $1 million secured bond.

The university sent the following message to students:

“Dear HPU Student,

There is no immediate threat to campus at this time, however, we are providing you with information about an incident that occurred early this morning as a reminder to stay vigilant in campus safety.

Early Sunday morning, an unknown individual entered North Residence Hall under false pretense and attempted harm. The two students involved were able to leave the room where the suspect was located. Security responded immediately and worked with High Point Police Officers who are ever-present on campus to remove the suspect. The suspect left the campus before they were identified and apprehended. HPPD is actively looking for the suspect. HPU is actively assisting HPPD with the investigation.

Please remember to remain watchful of your surroundings, keep your doors locked, and call security at 336-841-9112 if you see anything that may be suspicious.

HPU’s Counseling Team will be available to speak with students. They are located on the third floor of Slane and can be reached at 336-888-6352 or counseling@highpoint.edu.”

On Monday, HPU President Nido Qubein sent the following letter to the university community:

Dear HPU Family, 

Yesterday’s event caught us by surprise, and we are saddened by the pain it caused some of our students. But we are determined to do all we can to ensure against such incidents. Now, we are focused on supporting the residents of the first floor of McEwen Hall and all students on campus.  

Here’s what happened: A perpetrator entered campus unlawfully and managed to enter through the side door of McEwen Hall and ultimately the room of two female students. The intruder was in the building for a total of 4 minutes. Thankfully, High Point Police and HPU security cooperated together to locate the person who was arrested yesterday afternoon and is in jail on a $1 million bond. We honor and thank the courageous students who managed to stop him. The occurrence was traumatic and frightening. Our entire campus community is keeping the students involved in our prayers while, at the same time, we look to make the campus safer to prevent something like this from happening ever again. In my 17 years here as president, we’ve never encountered such an incident.

Students and parents have expressed both their concerns and appreciation for the way HPU handled this situation. No campus can be entirely invincible, but our standards at HPU are high, and this incident is very troubling. HPU Security is supported by High Point police officers on campus 24 hours a day. When this incident occurred, police quickly went into action and began a thorough investigation, which is still active. 

For the students impacted by this, we have our full and complete resources ready to assist. From counseling to academic concerns, we are here to help the campus community through this challenging time. Tonight at 9 p.m., counselors and staff will attend a residence hall meeting for the 1st floor of McEwen residents. We want to be supportive and resourceful in every way.

Some want to know what we are doing to prevent this from happening again and why we haven’t communicated with parents before now. It’s a fair question. We were precluded from sharing information while the police were conducting their investigation. Yesterday, we provided additional security and police presence in and around the McEwen Residence Hall. We want all our residents to feel safe in their campus home, and this was done out of an abundance of caution and care. That will remain in place for the remainder of the semester without it interfering in the lives of students.

We are conducting a complete analysis of security video footage and door entry records. Some of this content already helped police with identifying the perpetrator. We still have more records to review and investigate. We’ve also requested an audit by an independent security company in order to review and improve our practices. HPU did host several community concerts and events this past weekend, attracting at least a thousand people. While we are a protected campus, hosting cultural events for students and the community is an important part of campus life. These events must always be properly balanced with security and safety in mind.

HPU is a family, and we all hurt when anyone is hurt. No institution is perfect, and HPU is no exception. But HPU strives to provide a caring culture that is safe for every member of our family. And we continue to support our campus family in both good times and difficult times like this.

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