Man accused of theft on north campus caught by dance team members


A student walks out of Boyd Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Sarah Michels

If it weren’t for two members of the UK Dance team, north campus’ winter break thief may not have been so quickly caught.

Sophomore roommates Izzy Hess and Chloe Lucido had just returned to their Boyd Hall dorms after a three-day trip to the Citrus Bowl when they realized that someone else had been in their rooms while they were gone. As members of the dance team, Hess and Lucido were required to stay and train in Lexington during winter break, except for their brief stint in Orlando. The only other students living in the dorms over break were the RAs and maybe one or two other people, they said.

Their locked bedroom doors initially tipped them off. While UK students can enter the main section of their dorm suites using their student ID cards, the individual bedrooms inside use traditional keys instead.

Lucido and Hess hadn’t locked their bedroom doors, knowing that they would be back just a few days later, and had left their keys in their rooms. However, when they arrived back at Boyd Hall on Jan. 2 at approximately 6:50 a.m., they were locked out.

Hess realized that her belongings were moved around, but nothing was taken. She said she didn’t have any cash in her room to steal. Her roommates weren’t as fortunate. The thief, later identified by UK Police as contracted maintenance technician Kristian Lowe, stole approximately $300 from Lucido’s room, in addition to her safe.

“He took all the valuable stuff out, broke some of my jewelry or whatever, and then just stole my safe,” Lucido said. “Like an empty safe, which is odd. And he definitely went under my bed to find the key [to the safe] and put it all back, so it was scary. He definitely looked around. He thought he had enough time, not realizing that me and her stayed here pretty much all break.”

Lowe also entered the bedroom of Hess and Lucido’s third roommate, sophomore Genevieve Moll, and took her Coach wristlet, approximately $500, a pair of sunglasses and her school-issued iPad while she was home for winter break, according to his arrest citation.

After searching for an RA at the front desk — nobody was there — Lucido and Hess called the police, who used their student ID cards to pull the records of who had accessed the dorm while they were absent. The badge history showed that Lowe, contracted by UK housing partner Greystar, was the only one who had entered their room, at 10:52 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2021, according to the police report.

The police used UK’s technology to determine that Lowe also entered approximately 859 other dorm rooms between Boyd Hall, Holmes Hall, Jewell Hall and Blazer Hall, stealing mostly cash. Camera footage showed Lowe pushing a cart large enough to hide other items he allegedly stole, but couldn’t identify the actual items.

At approximately 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2022, three UK police officers arrested Lowe in the Joe Craft Center Lot. Lowe had brass knuckles and $1,303 in cash still in his coat pockets, according to the police report. He admitted to stealing the cash from several Holmes Hall dorms on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors earlier that day alongside an employee named Josh. He said the money he stole from Boyd Hall was in his home closet and denied taking any non-cash items. The police report did not share any additional details about “Josh,” Lowe’s alleged partner-in-crime.

According to his arrest citation, Lowe faces several charges: two counts of burglary in the second degree, a class C felony which carries a sentence between five to ten years’ imprisonment upon conviction; one count of unlawful possession of a weapon on school property, a class D felony which carries a sentence between one to five years’ imprisonment; and one count of criminal mischief in the third degree, a class B misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to 90 days in jail if convicted. He was released on $1,000 bond on Jan. 4 on the condition that he have no contact with UK property.

Lowe, 28, has a criminal history. According to his arrest citation, he was charged with wanton endangerment and violation of his probation in February 2015. In September 2013, Lowe faced charges of assault in the fourth degree and sexual abuse in the first degree, which covers all sexual assault outside of rape or sodomy according to Kentucky law.

Greystar, a real-estate company that develops and manages much of UK’s campus housing, reported to the university that they conducted a background check on Lowe, as they do with all their employees, said UK spokesperson Jay Blanton.

Based on his work order, Lowe had no legal reason to access the dormitories, and it’s unclear how he got the master key. There are fewer dorm staff during the break, Blanton said, and Lowe took advantage of that. Blanton said that UK is planning to review its policies and procedures in order to find their gaps in security and eliminate them.

“We will spare no expense in ensuring [students’] health and safety and will be evaluating what happened here and quickly make improvements where necessary,” Blanton said. “We apologize this happened. It’s not acceptable to us. We will quickly and transparently communicate about this and ensure our students and families have the support they need moving forward.”

Affected students received an email from UK as they moved back into their dorms with a link to a loss form. Blanton said UK’s goal is to compensate students for their material losses as quickly as possible. But, in addition to cash and stolen items, some students who live in the affected dorms say they’ve lost some sense of security.

“I feel like I’m not completely safe anymore,” Lucido said.

Junior Eli Smith said that UK needs to rethink which employees they hire and how they manage them.

“You really don’t know who you’re contracting,” Smith said. “I don’t know if he was purposely given the key, but I think more purposeful oversight would be best.”

Sophomore Alex O’Dell said that while having a universal key is useful in certain situations, it’s also dangerous. She thinks that a better option could be having “master” keys that only open a small section or number of rooms instead of all of them in order to limit the damage of incidents like this. Moll agreed that employees should not have access to a universal key.

“I don’t think RAs or maintenance or anybody should ever come into our rooms without us present and without us opening the door for them. I don’t think that it’s okay for people to be able to go into rooms and rummage through your belongings,” Moll said. “I don’t know how all that works, but I’d love some of my money back.”

Lowe’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 13.