Two UVU housing complexes were targeted in a multi-city auto burglary that left students devastated earlier this month. There were eight documented burglaries on June 3, although as many as 13 break-ins may have occurred that night.
Orem police reported that a small group of individuals drove in a single car, stopping at five separate student housing complexes in Orem as well as several apartments in Provo. Upon arrival at each complex, the group members split to commit separate burglaries. The targeted cars had electronics, money, or charger cords visible in plain sight. The vandalisms were quick and happened within minutes of each other.
Police stated that a few students had their windows broken, but some students left their windows down or doors unlocked. Amanda Hollman, a UVU senior, was one of the victims of the burglaries.
“I was woken up by my neighbor telling me that my car was broken into. When I went outside, my window was shattered and there was glass everywhere,” said Hollman. “With my part time job, I can’t afford good insurance, so I had to pay for the window out of my own pocket. I spent $167 to replace the window, but fortunately nothing was stolen from my car.”
Blood left on pieces of shattered glass at the crime scenes led detectives to the identification of several suspects. However, due to the crimes being part of an open investigation, restitution will not be immediately available to the victims.
Auto burglaries increase in the summer due to school being out and car windows being left open. There have been 78 reported auto burglaries in Orem since April 1. Although burglaries can happen anywhere, student housing complexes often make easy targets for car thieves.
“Student apartments are targeted because there are a large number of cars in a parking lot at night. Many complexes around here have underground parking which is a major target for auto burglars. The darkness also helps burglars hide and make a quick getaway,” said Detective Nick Thomas of the Orem Police Department.
Vandalisms on UVU campus have decreased significantly over the past three years according to UVU police. The decrease in theft can be attributed to an improved surveillance system and increased monitoring of parking lots and tunnels.
Police officers urge students to be vigilant about how they leave their cars when they park. Burglaries happen every day, but there are things an individual can do to decrease their chance of being a victim.
“Write down the serial number to all of your electronics. When a device is stolen, we utilize a database to track the item using its serial number,” Detective Thomas explained. “Students should hide their electronics [including chargers] if they must be left in the car, otherwise take them inside. Lock your doors, don’t leave your windows rolled down, park in a well-lit area, and don’t be afraid to report anything suspicious,”
Victims of car burglaries are encouraged to contact their local police department.