Vandalism, Theft Cases

by Erica Mundell

There are still no leads on the recent vandalism and theft that occurred on campus to students’ cars, according to Director of Public Safety Richard Cook.
Cook and the Department of Public Safety do have their suspicions, however.

Senior Matt Elmore’s car, above, was one of three vandalized last week.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, vandalism on campus is (done by) a student,” said Cook. “And it is very rare that someone will break into a car to steal by going through the sunroof. Or try to do it in the winter, for that matter.”

There was an unidentified man caught on camera in the Poole Residence Center parking lot where the third crime was committed. According to Cook, the man “didn’t fit the typical student description.” He was stopped and questioned, but there was no evidence to link the man to the theft.

The three cases of vandalism and theft that occurred last week are being interpreted by DPS as separate acts that happened in the same weekend.

In his 10 1/2 years on campus, Cook has seen several cases involving students’ cars.

“Three or four years ago, vandalism used to be very common,” said Cook.

But just as it was then, if the act isn’t caught on camera, or if no one sees and reports it, the case is almost unsolvable.

“If no one sees it and you don’t hear someone talking about it, we won’t have any leads,” said Cook.

Senior Matt Elmore was one of the students who had his car vandalized. Listed in the daily crime log as the first case reported that weekend, the side mirrors were broken off of Elmore’s car.

“At first, I just saw the driver’s side, so I thought it had been sideswiped,” said Elmore. “But my friend walked around to the other side and discovered they had both been knocked off. And now they’re just hanging by the adjustment wires.”

Elmore reported the vandalism to DPS immediately. The report was recorded and Elmore was told to keep his eyes and ears open. He was asked if he had any enemies, anyone that would purposefully vandalize his car.

“I couldn’t think of one person,” Elmore said.

While Elmore felt that DPS handled his case very professionally, he said that he does not feel safe parking on campus any more.

“The school should have more camera coverage on Back Circle,” said Elmore.

Cook made it clear that there would be several extra pairs of eyes on all the campus parking lots from now on, especially on the weekends.

Cook advises students to make sure they keep their doors locked at all times and their valuables out of sight if they must leave them in the car and to notify DPS immediately of any suspicious activity.

“We’re willing to help, but the students have got to report these things as soon as possible,” said Cook.

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