Theft from vehicles on campus continues

On Tuesday, April 18, the fourth email of the semester from the Department of Public Safety about burglaries from cars landed in UTM email inboxes.

There were four total burglaries from Sunday, April 16 to Monday, April 17 in and around parking lot number two. This parking lot is located around the Elam Center.

Items taken include various electronics, Nike tennis shoes, a purse, equipment from the tennis storage building and international flags.

These were all the result of unlocked doors. There were no actual break-ins.

Since these occurred, officers have spoken with child care employees, coaching staff members, and softball and baseball affiliates to make them aware of the situation and importance of locking their doors.

“We want people to know to lock their doors, especially this time of year,” said Jerry Garcia, lieutenant of Public Safety. “Everything’s a crime of opportunity.”

Opportunity theft is when criminals act upon unplanned opportunities. This predominately refers to unattended personal items like that backpack that was left in the study room while its owner thought to go do something quickly.

Garcia noted circumstances like this as “probably our biggest crime on campus.”

This is the same for other thefts from vehicles that have occurred earlier in the semester, during the month of March. On March 2, an email was sent regarding four reports that happened over the weekend. These thefts took place in lot number 13, for Cooper Hall. The Martin Police Department also received reports of similar activity involving vehicles that were near campus.

Another advisory email was received on March 13. In this case, four thefts occurred over the weekend in lot 13 and those parking lots south of the dormitories and near the Phase I and II apartments. Between those two sets of incidents, there was also an email sent on March 8, regarding theft from a campus building.

There are thought to be no similarities between these and the current crimes.

Advisory emails are sent as part of the Jeanne Clery Act that requires law enforcement officials to send out a timely warning for ongoing events. The warning explains what is happening as well as tips to prevent its continuation.

Police are currently following leads and have increased officer foot patrols. They are also checking local pawnshops for reported missing items.

The campus police department encourages faculty, staff and students to lock their doors and not to leave personal belongings in plain sight or unattended.

To report any tips, call campus police at 731-881-7777 or the Crimestoppers hotline at 731-587-2611.


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