Newark woman poses as Columbia student, arrested for trespassing
A 27-year-old Newark woman was arrested twice last week for trespassing on Columbia University's campus, reportedly posing asa student for almost two weeks.
Birva Patel was arrested Thursday and charged with third-degree trespassing after a Columbia security guard found Patel in the school's library, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Guards found her on campus again on Saturday, and Patel was arrested and charged with criminal contempt. She faces up to a year in prison for each count.
Patel, who had allegedly gone by the name Rhea Sen, had been on campus for about two weeks, attending student orientations and school trips around the city, according to the Columbia Spectator.
Orientation reportedly leaders began to suspect Patel was an impostor after she told conflicting stories about which dorm she lived in and other identifying information.
"Eventually, she tried to make friends with our first-year students, and it just got to the point where her lies were too obvious," International Student Orientation Program leader Louis Lin told the Spectator.
A spokesman for the university declined to comment. Attempts to contact Patel for comment were unsuccesful