Woman Arrested After Posing As Columbia Student For Two Weeks

New York City police have arrested a 26-year-old woman who has been posing as a Columbia University freshman throughout orientation and the first days of school … even though she’s not even enrolled as a Columbia student.

Briva Patel pretended to be 20-year-old “Rhea Sen,” attending Columbia’s orientation events like trips to the Bronx Zoo and a music festival in Brooklyn. Even though “Rhea Sen” didn’t have a Columbia student ID, orientation leaders and fellow students saw her around the dining halls and even attending classes, The Columbia Spectator reports.

But it was her lies about what residence hall she lived in that finally did her in: Patel was caught saying she lived in rooms/floors of residence halls that don’t exist. Unrelated, but Patel also sent crazy, profanity-laden Facebook messages to a fellow freshman she had been befriending, accusing the friend’s boyfriend of stalking Patel. When the administration looked into this bizarre student who had just as first seemed “socially awkard,” they realized “Rhea Sen” didn’t exist.

On Thursday night, Patel’s “Catfish”-like adventure came to an end when she was busted by NYPD in the Columbia library. No one knows exactly where she slept during her two weeks as a Columbia impostor; student commenters on the Spectator website say they have seen the woman walking around campus throughout the spring and summer, so perhaps she lives locally.

It’s been an eventful orientation for Columbia students: 10 days ago, 18-year-old incoming freshman Martha Corey-Ochoa committed suicide in her dormitory after he parents moved her in earlier in the day. I hope Briva Patel gets the help she clearly needs … and then turns this whole story into a rad screenplay a la “The Wedding Crashers”/”Never Been Kissed.”

[Columbia Spectator via Gothamist]

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